Japanese government panel asks 3 prefectures to adopt…
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TOKYO, Jan 7 (Reuters) – A Japanese government panel on Friday issued a request for the declaration of near-emergency measures in three regions to stem a surge of COVID-19 that some officials have linked to U.S. military bases in the country .
If approved by the government, it would be the first such measures since September, when Japan lifted emergency controls that had prevailed over the country for most of last year.
The measures, affecting the southern prefecture of Okinawa and the western prefectures of Hiroshima and Yamaguchi, will last from Jan. 9 until the end of the month, Economy Minister Daishiro Yamagiwa told reporters.
Official approval is expected later Friday after a meeting of health experts.
The three prefectures host bases for the US military, which announced stricter infection controls on Thursday at the behest of Japan.
Governors of prefectures had requested the near-emergency measures, which include limited opening hours for bars and restaurants, after seeing an increase in coronavirus cases, driven by the infectious variant of Omicron. (Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Raju Gopalakrishnan)
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