On 7 April, the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a month-long state of emergency.
- The measure will be enforced from 7 April to 6 May 2020, and the areas covered include Tokyo, Osaka, Saitama, Kanagawa, China, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures.
- The emergency declaration is different from the full lockdown, and it does not include punishments for those who fail to comply.
- An emergency declaration will enable the local governors to order the closure of facilities that draw large crowds.
- Essential services, including transportation, banks and supermarkets remain open.
IMPACT ON FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
On the same day (7 April), the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF), Taku Eto, has urged shoppers to stay calm and there is no need for panic buying. In the official message, he reiterated the following;
- During the emergency state, supermarkets and convenience stores will continue to operate.
- There is sufficient food supply and no suspension is planned at production sites, including food factories, production sites for agriculture, forestry and fisheries products. No delay in terms of food imports from overseas.
- For businesses and personnel who are engaged in the food-related industry, in order to protect the production, MAFF has prepared drastic emergency economic measures to assist business. Basic Guidelines 3 for Response and Business Continuity in the Case of Outbreak of New Coronavirus Infection are issued for food industry operators too.
In addition, MAFF has created a page to respond enquiries with regards to the COVID-19. Some of the responses to public and food industry are:
- In collaboration with the local industry associations, on 7 April, MAFF issued the current food status to emphasize there is an adequate food supply for different food products in Japan.
- For food operators, a notification of ensuring stable supply of food was issued to ensure food industry operators
(food manufacturers, wholesalers/retailers) will continue to work during the state of emergency.