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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 January 6 - 12  > Shii comments on 2nd COVID state of emergency
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2021 January 6 - 12 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Shii comments on 2nd COVID state of emergency

January 8, 2021

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide on January 7 declared a month-long state of emergency in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures (Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama) which allows the four prefectures’ governors to demand that residents stay at home after 8 p.m. and that eating establishments close at 8 p.m. as measures to tackle the latest surge in COVID-19 cases.

Following the emergency declaration, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo held a press conference in the Diet building and said, “The JCP will urge the Suga government to revise the 2020 third supplementary budget draft.”

Explaining the reason, Shii pointed out, “The third supplementary draft budget was compiled based on the assumption that the coronavirus crisis will be brought under control.” Shii said, “Under the third supplementary budget plan, the government intends to stop providing direct support for struggling businesses and individuals such as state subsidies for business continuity and employment maintenance. On the other hand, it aims to fund the ‘Go To’ campaigns, which will continue until June, and to use a huge amount of tax money for large-scale development under the name of post-coronavirus recovery.” Shii added, “The government should swiftly revise the original supplementary budget draft and continue and improve the current direct support measures. It should scrap the ‘Go To’ subsidy projects and instead relieve relevant businesses with direct support.”

Asked for a comment on the government’s emergency rules focusing on the restaurant business, Shii pointed out, “I understand that the risk of COVID-19 spread increases in restaurant or bar settings. However, it is also true that most clusters have occurred at medical and nursing-care facilities.” Shii referred to Welfare and Health Ministry data showing that 1,412 clusters of COVID-19 cases were detected in hospitals and nursing homes as of January 4. He insisted, “In order to prevent the spread of infections, it is vital for the government to conduct facility-wide PCR tests on medical and nursing-care workers as well as on inpatients and nursing-home residents on a regular basis.”

In response to a question asking about the payment of compensation of up to 60,000 yen per day to restaurants and bars which shorten their business hours, Shii said that a maximum of 60,000 yen/day in compensation is not enough, and stressed that the amount of compensation should be determined in proportion to business size in order to enable business owners to continue their business operations. He also said that the government should take relief measures which cover eating establishments and all related industries.

Shii said, “The current emergency has been brought about partly by PM Suga’s stance to cling to the ‘Go To’ campaign projects while turning his back on providing financial aid to medical institutions and expanding the PCR testing capacity. PM Suga should be held responsible for his misadministration.”

Past related article:
> Gov’t should hurry to improve COVID-19-related measures before compiling 3rd supplementary budget [November 12, 2020]

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