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The Prime Minister in Action

19th Meeting of the Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters

March 10, 2020

Photograph of the Prime Minister making a statement (1)

Photograph of the Prime Minister making a statement (1)

  • Photograph of the Prime Minister making a statement (1)
  • Photograph of the Prime Minister making a statement (2)
  • Photograph of the Prime Minister making a statement (3)

Photograph of the Prime Minister making a statement (2)

Photograph of the Prime Minister making a statement (2)

Photograph of the Prime Minister making a statement (3)

Photograph of the Prime Minister making a statement (3)

[Provisional Translation]
On March 10, 2020, the Prime Minister held the 19th meeting of the Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters at the Prime Minister’s Office. At the meeting, a discussion was held on the response to the novel coronavirus (COVID 19).

Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,

“With respect to the current situation of novel coronavirus (COVID 19), it has been assessed that we are at a critical moment over these one to two weeks regarding whether the outbreak spreads rapidly or is controlled. At the expert meeting yesterday, an updated assessment that the rapid spread of infections has not been confirmed and the country has kept the outbreak under control was shared. At the same time, it has also been pointed out that we need to remain vigilant. The expert meeting is scheduled to provide a new assessment regarding the effectiveness of our efforts so far, with a target date of around March 19. We still remain in an extremely important moment for preventing the rapid spread of infections in the country.

In the Basic Policies that were recently decided, the Government has requested organizers and others to re-examine the necessity of hosting events. Based on that, it has also called for taking actions such as cancelation, postponement, or downscaling, regarding nation-wide events. We ask for such efforts to be continued for an additional 10 days until the expert meeting provides its assessment.

At the expert meeting, it was pointed out that larger-scale infections were identified at places that meet the following three conditions: 1) poor ventilation, 2) crowds in a closed-off environment, 3) people talking or speaking at close range. We ask the public to avoid such places or occasions as much as possible.

While minimizing the damages to public health in the country and containing the outbreaks expeditiously, we also need to make all-out efforts to address the impacts to our economy, prioritizing the protection of employment and business continuation above all. With this in mind, we have compiled the second batch of emergency response measures.

To begin with, with respect to the preventive measures and development of medical treatment structure, we will accelerate our responses covering various fields, such as implementing comprehensive mask-related measures from both demand and supply sides, further expanding PCR screening capabilities, and developing vaccines or rapid test kits.

In addition, we will provide anew aid to those parents with children who are forced to take leave in response to the recent request for temporary school closures, no matter if they are in permanent or non-permanent employment. We will also expand our assistance for those who work under work consignment contracts and other circumstances.

For those who are in difficulty, being forced to take leave or close business temporarily due to the spread of infections, we will support their efforts to rebuild their lives by establishing Special Loans from Emergency Small Funds for individuals, with conditional exemption of repayment.

Amidst the situation where businesses are shrinking, we will expand significantly the Employment Adjustment Subsidies so as to protect employment, which is of the utmost importance in people’s lives.

Moreover, we will provide strong liquidity support amounting to a total of 1.6 trillion yen, including real interest-free unsecured loans, which will also cover individual business owners, so that small- and medium-sized business operators across the country facing very severe situations can steadily continue their respective businesses. Along with this assistance, we will also support the efforts to secure supply chains.

Today, we are taking fiscal measures of a total of 430 billion yen, by utilizing this fiscal year’s contingency funds of 270 billion yen and other means. I instruct each and every minister to immediately start implementing these measures, along with monetary measures of 1.6 trillion yen.

Furthermore, in light of the spreading of infections overseas, even when designating countries and regions other than China as areas from which we will deny entry in accordance with the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, we will report to this Headquarters and announce it. By doing so, we aim to implement border controls flexibly.

In addition to that, assessing the increasing number of patients comprehensively, we will include several states in Iran and several provinces in Italy as well as the entire area of San Marino to the list of areas from which we will deny entry. We will proceed with the necessary arrangements and make this effective as of 0:00, March 11.

We will continue to steadily implement the measures that we have announced so far and introduce necessary measures without hesitation, looking beyond the situation that is changing day by day.”

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