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Japan PM Abe suggests he may seek police cooperation to keep people at home

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks about the declaration of a state of emergency at a April 7, 2020 press conference at the prime minister's office in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has hinted that police officers may ask people out on the streets to stay at home in accordance with the declaration of a state of emergency over the spread of the novel coronavirus, which calls for people to remain indoors.

    At an April 7 press conference, freelance journalist Shoko Egawa asked if there was a possibility the government would "ask police to intensify checkups and other activities to raise the level of alertness," since temporary closures of businesses and self-imposed restraint in outdoor activities are merely based on requests.

    To her question, Prime Minister Abe answered, "Because there aren't punishments (for people who do not comply), police will not go around cracking down on them. But we may seek 'cooperation' from the police."

    (Japanese original by Kazuhiko Hori, Political News Department)

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