THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
December 13, 2020 at 18:15 JST
The central government on Dec. 13 is nearing suspension of its Go To Travel campaign for Tokyo as a destination while the capital, and many other prefectures, continue shattering records for fresh COVID-19 cases.
Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of the central government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike met over the plan in the afternoon. Koike said both sides are still discussing the matter.
The central government has already asked the metropolitan government by Dec. 13 to consider its proposal for temporarily removing Tokyo from its tourism campaign, which partially subsidizes travel expenses, to slow the spread of the virus.
The central government is also calling on Tokyo residents not to travel beyond the capital.
"It will also be inevitable to suspend the program for Aichi Prefecture," a central government official said.
Earlier the same day, Nishimura acknowledged on a Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) program that the central government is in talks with Koike and Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura about the plan to scratch the capital and Aichi Prefecture.
He added that the central government will ultimately decide after hearing the opinion of the Tokyo governor.
The central government earlier this month urged people 65 and older and those with underlying conditions to refrain from traveling to and from Tokyo, stopping short of suspending the Go To Travel campaign for the capital.
But a central government panel composed of infectious disease experts and economists is recommending that the campaign should be halted for Tokyo.
Trips to Sapporo and Osaka have been removed from the central government’s campaign until Dec. 15 after the two cities began reporting spikes in new cases.
The central government is talking with officials in the cities over extending the suspensions.
Tokyo reported a record 621 newly confirmed infections on Dec. 12 as the national total of daily new cases topped 3,000 for the first time on the same day.
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