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Japan PM Abe says punishable stay-at-home orders an option if 'absolutely necessary'

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seen answering questions at the House of Councillors Audit Committee meeting, on June 15, 2020, in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged during a parliamentary committee meeting on June 15 that the Japanese government could consider punishable stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Responding to a question asked in a House of Councillors Audit Committee meeting by Makoto Nagamine, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Abe said, "If we were in a situation where it was absolutely necessary, we would of course look into (punishable stay-at-home measures)." But he followed the comments by saying, "It would come with wide controls on people's private rights, so we'd have to think carefully about it."

Under existing law, prefectural governors can request that residents refrain from going outdoors, but they can't issue punishments for ignoring the calls. The kind of strong lockdown measures seen in foreign countries are not recognized by Japanese law.

(Japanese original by Jun Aoki, Political News Department)

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