Japan declares COVID-19 state of emergency

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Fighting the New COVID-19 Infections

The Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe on Tuesday declared a state of emergency to fight new COVID-19 infections in major population centres, and unveiled a stimulus package he described among the world’s biggest to soften the economic blow. The state of emergency was announced targeting capital Tokyo and six other prefectures that account for about 44% of Japan’s total population. The state of emergency will remain for a period of about one month.

Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, the western hub of Osaka and Hyogo, and the south western region of Fukuoka are the other affected regions. As the fast spread of coronavirus nationwide would have an enormous impact on lives and the economy, this decision is a crucial one. Abe said that the most important thing now is for each citizen is to change their actions. He urged people to reduce contact with other people by at least 70 per cent and ideally by 80 per cent.

A Whopping Stimulus Package

The cabinet also announced a stimulus package worth 108 trillion yen.(US$990 billion). The package is equal to 20 per cent of Japan’s economic output and aims to cushion the impact of the pandemic on world’s third largest economy. The package also exceeds 11 per cent of the U.S. output for stimulus package laid out by President Donald Trump and 5 per cent of output for Germany’s package.

The government referred to the pandemic as the biggest crisis the global economy has faced since World War II. Abe also said direct fiscal spending would amount to 39 trillion yen, or 7 percent of the economy, more than double the amount Japan spent after the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers. Japan has been spared the big outbreaks of coronavirus seen in other global hot spots, but a recent, steady rise in infections in Tokyo, Osaka, and other areas led to growing calls for Abe to announce a state of emergency.

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West has been driving the business world owing to its developed economies. The leading part of the world is straining to sustain its dominance. However, the other parts of the world, especially Asia Pacific region have been displaying escalating growth in terms of business and technological advancements.

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