• The Financial District


The governors of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo asked the central government to include their western Japan prefectures in the state of emergency that took effect earlier for the Tokyo region over the resurging coronavirus, according to Kyodo News.

The three governors met online with Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of the government's response to the pandemic, a day after their prefectures all reported record numbers of infection.

While stating that the three prefectures "are in an extremely serious situation where an emergency declaration is being considered," Nishimura said he would make a decision after "careful assessment" of the situation and state of the medical system.

The resurgence of the virus has been increasing the strain on the country's medical system. Nationwide, the daily tally topped 7,000 for the third day in a row, after hitting a fresh high of around 7,900 on Friday.

Nishimura also asked the governors to implement stronger measures on par with those taken in the Tokyo metropolitan area, citing shorter operating hours for eateries, more telework, refraining from nonessential outings and stricter conditions in place for holding events.

"My understanding that we are in a situation where a state of emergency should be declared has not changed," said Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura, adding that he will put in place the same measures as the Tokyo metropolitan area from next Thursday to Feb. 7.

On Saturday, Hyogo again reported a daily record of 324, while Osaka logged 647, its second largest so far, and Kyoto 126.

Japan's cumulative total of deaths also surpassed 4,000, reaching the milestone just half a month after the figure topped 3,000 on Dec. 22, underscoring the rapid pace in the death toll in line with the surge in infections.

Tourist sites and entertainment districts in Tokyo and its three neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama were largely deserted on Saturday as they entered their first weekend under a one-month state of emergency.

The capital on Saturday reported an additional 2,268 coronavirus cases, topping the 2,000 mark for the third straight day. It logged a record 2,447 infections on Thursday and 2,392 cases on Friday.


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