Japan’s prime minister has put off his trips to India and the Philippines amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the two Asian nations.
Yoshihide Suga was scheduled to tour the two countries from late April to early May, Kyodo News reported on Wednesday.
India is witnessing a mass number of new daily coronavirus infections -- now one of the top two worst-hit countries in the world. The Philippines has also reported record cases in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, in its battle against the coronavirus, Suga’s government has made plans to impose a fresh state of emergency in at least three provinces to stem the spread of infections.
According to the latest move, emergency will be imposed in Tokyo, Osaka, and Hyogo provinces due to rises in infections which have put pressure on the health care system.
The decision is expected to be announced later today.
It will be the third time Japan is imposing a state of emergency since April last year.
“Considering the request by the Osaka Prefecture [province], we would like to swiftly reach a conclusion after thoroughly assessing the situation and studying the contents of the measures,” Suga told the Japanese parliament on Wednesday.
Osaka province authorities have been asking for extra powers to close major amusement and commercial facilities.
Osaka and Hyogo provinces have seen at least 80% of more contagious coronavirus variants in western Japan. Tokyo is also witnessing rises in the same strains of the virus.
Japan has reported 537,317 COVID-19 cases, including 9,671 deaths, with Tokyo the worst-hit province.
Top diplomats of Japan, Philippines discuss regional issues
Meanwhile, in a phone call with his Philippines counterpart, Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu discussed the latest moves by China in the East and South China seas.
The phone call was made ahead of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit scheduled for Wednesday.
The duo said their countries should “work closely together to maintain a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law,’ Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reported.
On the situation in Myanmar, Motegi said Japan supports efforts of the ASEAN to overcome the situation.
Myanmar is witnessing mass anti-coup demonstrations since early February when Tatmadaw, the Burmese military, ousted the ruling National League for Democracy government. The military junta imposed one year state of emergency installing its own government.
Nearly 738 anti-coup protesters have been killed so far, while over 3,200 others have been put behind bars, according to local monitoring group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.