"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Press Conference by the Prime Minister regarding the Request for Application of Priority Measures to Prevent the Spread of Disease

[Date] January 6, 2022
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional Translation
[Full text]

(Regarding the request for the application of priority measures to prevent the spread of disease)

Following the request earlier today from the Governors of Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Okinawa Prefectures to apply priority measures to prevent the spread of disease, I discussed the matter with relevant ministers. In light of the need to take immediate action against the spread of infections in the three prefectures, the Government concluded that we should consult the expert committee over the application of priority measures in the requested areas. In doing so, we will also strengthen the priority measures in two key respects, given the rapid spread of the Omicron strain.

Firstly, we will make it possible for prefectural governors to take further measures at their discretion, such as suspending the serving of alcohol at dining and drinking establishments. Secondly, we will publicize the results of the self-assessment by the three prefectures on their preparedness for the delivery of medical services based on their plans for ensuring health and medical care delivery system, thereby urging them to take all possible measures to ensure their system for the delivery of medical services. To implement those measures, we will tomorrow hold a meeting of the Subcommittee on Novel Coronavirus Disease Control attended by experts. The final decision will be made after the matter is reported to the Diet.

With infections spreading all around the country, we have taken preparations to establish the medical treatment structures and strengthened our series of steps from prevention and discovery through to early treatment in an attempt to forestall any such possible challenges. We will act in close cooperation with individual prefectures and maintain a high level of vigilance as we engage in our responses to ensuring that the established system will run properly.

To deal with the particularly alarming spread of infections in Okinawa Prefecture, we have decided to dispatch to the prefectural government a liaison team assigned as resident staff to respond via a hotline with the Prime Minister's Office and other ministry officials. We have also made arrangements to dispatch to frontline medical sites nurses from the Self-Defense Forces and other organizations. We will work in close cooperation to enable flexible response.

I have so far instructed the Minister for Foreign Affairs to urge the U.S. side to take thorough measures to ensure the prevention of further spread of infections, including restrictions on outings. I have reiterated my instructions to the minister to urge the U.S. side to urgently take stringent measures on the occasion of the upcoming "Two Plus Two" meeting.