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May 2020

05/24/2020

Governor Mikazuki made a special request to Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura, asking for enhancing COVID-19 measures

On May 18, Governor Mikazuki Taizo had an online meeting with the Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi to discuss the enhancement of the medical care system and support for the needy as countermeasures for COVID-19. The governor submitted a request comprised of about 60 items.

The items included are the enhancement of the PCR testing system, the security of goods such as masks and rubbing alcohol, the provision of hazard pay for medical professions, the multilingualization of information for non-Japanese residents, and the support for after school daycare facilities for challenged children.

“Preparing for any situations, we will properly handle the request by having the second supplementary budget enacted,” says Minister Nishimura.

On the same day, an online meeting was held among nine prefectures of the Chubu Area, discussing a proposal regarding COVID-19. The governors have reached a consensus with the proposal requesting the national government of the following items: strengthening national financial resources to compensate private corporations for temporally closing their business, establishing penal provisions for those who decline a governor’s instruction, and so on.

As for a joint message from the Chubu Area Governors’ Council, Governor Mikazuki says, “Since the release of the state of emergency, there have been the patients whose sources of infection are unknown. We need to underscore the importance of not crossing the prefectural boundaries.”

(Asahi Shimbun, May 19, 2020)

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05/17/2020

Shiga Prefecture lifted business shutdown requests regarding COVID-19.

The Shiga Prefectural Government, having responded to the release of the state of emergency by the national government, eased business shutdown requests at 0:00 am on May 15. The prefecture, however, continues to request businesses of thorough measures such as controlling the number of customers and ensuring social distancing. Besides, citizens are encouraged to refrain from visiting bars and restaurants featuring entertainment and from crossing prefectural borders.

At a May 14 meeting of the Council on New Coronavirus Infection Control Measures, Governor Mikazuki says, “There has been no patient infected for ten consecutive days thanks to the various requests and measures. I would like to express my appreciation for the citizens who abided by the requests.” The governor also unveiled three categories to describe an infection status in Shiga set by the prefectural government, underscoring the current status as the “Warning Stage.”

Mr. Mikazuki also mentioned that the prefectural high/junior high/special support schools, now closing down, are in the preparation process of reopening on June 1. With Osaka and Kyoto still facing serious challenges, the governor pointed out the need for the citizens to brace themselves, saying “we still cannot let our guard down.”

(Kyoto Shimbun, May 15, 2020)

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05/11/2020

Shiga Prefecture to take employment creation initiatives aimed at those who lost their jobs

On May 8, the Shiga Prefectural Government held a meeting of the Task Force for Comprehensive Economic and Employment Measures, showing its policy to take the prefecture-led employment creation initiatives aimed at those who lost their jobs due to the spread of the COVID-19. The first package will be proposed in May, followed by the second one in June.

Governor Mikazuki says, “the recent self‐imposed control has made the business environment worse, causing instability of employment,” unveiling that the prefecture is formulating measures including directly employing temporal workers. The measures will also be designed for the agriculture, forestry, and fishery industries to hire seasonal workers.

Besides, the Shiga Prefectural Government, in cooperation with the Shiga Social Security Consultant Association, will help disseminate and facilitate the Employment Adjustment Subsidy, which financially supports private corporations suspending their business operations.

(Chunichi Shimbun, May 9, 2020)

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05/05/2020

Medical Testing Center for Outpatients to be newly established in four regions: Otsu, Takashima, Konan-Koga, and Higashiomi.

The Shiga Prefecture Council on New Coronavirus Infection Control Measures held a meeting on May 4 at the Shiga Prefecture Crisis Management Center. The Council, comprised of key organizations such as the Shiga Prefectural Government, the Shiga Medical Association, and the Shiga Prefecture Hospital Association, decided to establish the “Medical Testing Center for Outpatients” in four regions in the prefecture to strengthen the PCR testing system.

According to the prefectural government, the establishment of the new Centers will enable potential patients to take tests without being introduced by the existing Consultation Center for Returnees and Contacts. At least one Center will be established in the four regions respectively, namely Otsu, Takashima, Konan-Koga, and Higashiomi.

The number of beds for patients infected with COVID-19 is currently 109 and is expected to reach 140 by the end of May. The infection rate resulting from PCR tests was 8% at its peak in early April, but it dropped to 0.6% as of May 1. A Shiga official of the Department of Public Health Care and Welfare says, “Just like the national trend, viral infection cannot be confirmed largely in cities and towns.”

(Chunichi Shimbun , May 5, 2020)

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05/03/2020

The number of visitors from other prefectures has inched up since the first day of Golden Week holidays

On May 1, the Information Policy Division of the Shiga Prefectural Government, intending to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, disclosed the results of the state of the moving population, utilizing big data in analyzing positional information provided by the IT giant Yahoo. The results show the number of visitors from other prefectures has inched up since the first day of Golden Week holidays.

According to the Division, the number of visitors from other prefectures was steadily decreasing between the early and late April, by 66% of the reduction compared to the same period of the previous year. This trend, however, was reversed on April 29, the first day of Golden Week, with the number slightly being increased compared to the previous week, even if the number was reduced by approximately 60% compared to the previous year.

Analyzed by age, it has turned out that the number of teenagers increased at commercial facilities in front of JR Otsukyo Station and Kusatsu Station West Gate in comparison to the last year. This state might be because schools have been closed.

Through its relevant research, youngsters such as teenagers living in Shiga have turned out to be less motivated with precautions against COVID-19. According to a questionnaire survey targeted at Shiga’s citizens through LINE, a freeware app for instant communications, those who belonged to the category of students showed a higher ratio of “Nothing done for precautions.”

The survey results can be accessed at the official website of the Shiga Prefectural Government.

(Chunichi Shimbun, May 3, 2020)

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