Residents in southwestern Japan clean up after floods
UNTV News • July 9, 2020 • 359
People in southwestern Japan were busy cleaning up on Wednesday (July 8) following the aftermath of torrential rain that has pounded the area since the weekend killing dozens of people in floods and landslides.
In Hitoyoshi, a severe flood of the Kumagawa River destroyed houses along the riverbanks. Ruined home appliances and furniture lined local streets, while residents shovelled mud and bagged garbage. An excavator worked to clear debris.
As of Wednesday, 59 people have been confirmed dead, including 18 in Hitoyoshi. Seventeen people remain missing.
Meanwhile, the heavy rain moved into central Japan’s Nagano and Gifu prefectures. The country’s meteorological agency issued a heavy rain emergency in the two prefectures early Wednesday but downgraded the alert to a warning later in the day.
Water levels of rivers in the region were seen rising and officials are telling residents to stay vigilant. (Reuters)
Tokyo could declare a state of emergency if the coronavirus situation in the Japanese capital deteriorates further, its governor warned on Friday (July 31).
Yuriko Koike said Tokyo had confirmed 463 new cases on Friday – another single-day record – and implored residents to follow health guidelines to contain the spread of the virus.
“If the situation worsens, Tokyo would have to think about issuing its own state of emergency,” Koike told a news conference.
The Japanese government lifted the nationwide state of emergency in late May after Japan appeared to have contained the outbreak, touting its mask-wearing habits and health system as some of the factors that helped it fare better than Europe and the United States.
But the virus has made a worrying resurgence. The number of daily new cases in Japan hit a new record on Thursday (July 30), with infections spreading rapidly not only in Tokyo but also in other regions. (Reuters)
Japan has indicated that the current coronavirus situation in the country does not require a return of a state of emergency, according to the government’s top spokesman on Thursday (July 30).
Asked about the record number of cases from a day earlier exceeding 1,000 for the first time, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga repeated that the current situation did not warrant a state of emergency, which would restrict economic activity.
“On the other hand, there has been a rise in the number of cases, including among older people,” he told a news conference. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
According to public broadcaster NHK, Japan saw a record increase of 1,264 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday (July 29) alone.
The Nikkei business daily reported Thursday that Tokyo plans to urge shorter operating hours for restaurants and karaoke parlors in August to deal with the recent spike in infections. (Reuters)
Japan’s annual defense review accuses China of pushing its territorial claims amid the coronavirus pandemic and suspects Beijing of spreading propaganda and disinformation as it provides medical aid to nations fighting COVID-19.
“We’ve written some details about China’s persistent moves to attempt to alter the status quo surrounding the Senkaku Islands which is our territory,” said Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono on Tuesday (July 14).
The white paper approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government on Tuesday described “relentless” intrusions in waters around a group of islets claimed by both nations in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.
In the South China Sea, it said Beijing was asserting territorial claims by establishing administrative districts around disputed islands, that forced countries distracted by the coronavirus outbreak to respond.
Japan sees China as a longer-term and more serious threat than nuclear-armed North Korea. Beijing now spends four times as much as Tokyo on defence as it builds a large modern military. (Reuters)
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