Abe fears for the Japan economy if Tokyo is forced to lockdown over coronavirus
Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Tokyo is witnessing more coronavirus cases. Hence, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his fear of a lockdown on Tokyo. Therefore, despite the coronavirus (Covid-19) entering Japan by the middle of January, it seems that fears are resurfacing once more.
Of course, pointed fingers at Abe and the Tokyo Governor, Yuriko Koike, have wagged over both seemingly putting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics first. Indeed, the increased concern over the coronavirus crisis by Abe and Koike after the postponement of the Olympics hints at this.
Abe, looking grim-faced based on the economic downturn related to the increase of consumption tax last year and followed by the devastating coronavirus economic black swan. This is a far-cry from Abe’s economic plan for 2021. After all, Abe had hoped that increased tourism and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would entail a quick rebound from the consumption tax rise. However, the devastation caused by coronavirus means that tourism is massively down and the Olympics have been postponed until next year.
Thus, Abe is making it known that a lockdown of Tokyo would be an economic disaster. This equally applies to the surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama that naturally link Tokyo based on people commuting to work.
About the coronavirus, Abe uttered, “For now, I don’t think we need to call a state of emergency. But it’s very important to respond appropriately since the Tokyo metropolitan area has a huge population.”
The leader of Tokyo is now free from her over-emphasis on the Olympics. Hence, Koike is now fully focused on the coronavirus crisis based on a gradual increase in cases.
Koike uttered, “In order to avoid an explosive growth in infections, the co-operation of everyone is critical. We ask that each of you act with a sense of urgency.”
Of course, with Japan taking so few tests since the coronavirus entered Japan in the middle of January, then the sudden concern since the postponement of the Olympics does raise questions. After all, while South Korea sought to test at all costs, the opposite can be said of Japan. Hence, if a sudden increase of coronavirus cases emerges then the policy of “quietism” should be questioned.
Overall, it appears that Japan is heading for difficult economic times. Therefore, Abe is hoping that Tokyo can avoid a lockdown given the perilous economic situation.
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