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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 February 3 - 9  > COVID-related laws with penalty provisions enacted
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2021 February 3 - 9 [POLITICS]

COVID-related laws with penalty provisions enacted

February 4, 2021

Bills to combat COVID-19 became laws with penalty provisions on February 3 at the House of Councilors plenary session with the backing of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Komei Party, the Nippon Ishin no Kai party, and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. The Japanese Communist Party and the Democratic Party for the People voted against the bills.

JCP Policy Commission Chair Tamura Tomoko took the floor to oppose the bills and protested the way in which Diet deliberations are proceeding hastily without presenting any reasonable grounds for including penalty clauses in the revised laws which will put restrictions on private rights.

Tamura said, "To curb the spread of COVID-19 cases, voluntary cooperation and social solidarity are necessary. The government should provide compensation, not punishment, to business owners so that they can feel secure cooperating with government efforts to bring COVID-19 under control."

Citing examples of Hansen's disease, tuberculosis, and HIV in the past, Tamura said, "For fear of infection, many people at that time called for patient isolation and disclosure of the action history of those infected. This turned into outright discrimination before long, leading to the government's long-held segregation policy and the worst-ever human-rights abuses by the national government." She added, "Don't you think you should reflect on this negative history? What you must do is to defend patients' human rights."

Regarding making public the names of medical institutions that do not comply with a government request to accept COVID-19 patients, Tamura said that it is totally unacceptable for the government to threaten hospitals with social sanctions while neither improving medical preparedness nor paying compensation to cover hospitals' loss of earnings. She added that it is the government itself that has negatively affected hospitals' capacities by reducing the number of acute-phase hospital beds and lowering the remuneration paid for medical care.

Past related article:
> JCP Policy Commission Chair calls for compensatory payments, not punishment, in COVID-19 countermeasures [January 14, 2021]
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