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Governors message for the people of Fukushima(知事メッセージ)

印刷用ページを表示する 掲載日:2021年9月22日更新

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Thursday, 2 September, 2021)

The medical treatment systems remain in a crisis situation as the number of daily new cases has been hovering around 20,000 nationwide as well as the number of severely ill patients has been hitting record highs every day.

The central government has declared a state of emergency for 21 prefectures and issued priority measures to prevent the spread of diseases (stronger measures against the spread of infections) to 12 prefectures in order to contain the spread of infections nationwide. However, there are no clear signs of improvement.

In the Prefecture, the number of new cases in August stood at 2,951, which is 2.5 times more than the previous record high of 1,179 in May. Moreover, 46 clusters of infections have been confirmed, which is a monthly record high. This shows that we remain in a serious situation.

During this time, the Prefectural Government has declared a prefectural state of emergency while implementing the priority measures in the cities of Iwaki, Koriyama and Fukushima. Also, for 56 municipalities other than the three cities, the concentrated measures have been implemented. In addition, the Prefectural Government has strengthened the medical treatment systems in the Prefecture such as by increasing the beds for COVID-19 patients and in accommodation facilities, as well as setting up a "hospitalisation waiting station."

Although the effects of these measures have appeared little by little, the indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based in the Prefecture, show that the rate of beds being occupied, the number of patients in hospitals and accommodation facilities per 100,000 people, and the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the past week are at the Stage 4 level. The hospitalisation rate and the usage rate of beds reserved for severely ill patients are at the Stage 3 level. As a whole, the situation in the Prefecture remains at the Stage 3 level.

I would like to ask you to continue taking the following measures.

In the cities of Iwaki, Koriyama and Fukushima, please refrain from using restaurants after 8 p.m.

Moreover, I urge residents in the cities of Iwaki, Koriyama and Fukushima to take the following measures.

In order to contain the spread of infections, it is necessary to reduce the opportunities of people contacting each other by minimising the flow of people as much as possible. Please avoid crowding and strictly refrain from going to crowded places.

Also, this is a request to all the residents in the Prefecture. Please refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons and, in principle, cancel your plans to travel or to return to your family home especially to areas across prefectural borders. Please refrain from taking actions that have a high risk of infections such as eating and drinking or drinking alcohol with groups on the streets or in the parks.

Next, this is a request to business operators running restaurants and other such places. I ask restaurants in the cities of Iwaki, Koriyama and Fukushima to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day as well as to stop serving alcohol all day.

Also, in the entire Prefecture except for the cities of Iwaki, Koriyama and Fukushima, I ask restaurants which serve alcohol and restaurants with hospitality services to continue to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day.

Next, in the cities of Iwaki, Koriyama and Fukushima, I would like to ask business operators running businesses other than restaurants such as large-scale facilities that attract many customers to close their businesses by 8 p.m.

I also ask administrators of large-scale commercial facilities and the underground food section of department stores to implement measures such as regulating and guiding visitors, as well as controlling the number of visitors and restricting entry in order to prevent crowding.

Furthermore, this is a request to business operators who are holding events. Please follow the industry-specific guidelines and thoroughly take preventative measures.

Next, I ask all business operators to be thorough in taking preventative measures at their workplaces. Please cooperate in reducing the opportunities of employees to contact each other, reducing the opportunities of them to go out and decreasing as much as possible the number of commuters by 70 percent.

In addition, I ask administrators of universities and specialized training colleges to be thorough in raising the awareness of students about changing their behavior. Please remind them to refrain from taking actions such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken, and attending social gatherings with many people.

Moreover, I ask administrators of elementary, junior and senior high schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures such as cancelling learning activities and overnight school events which have a high risk of infections, as well as cancelling practices or practice games with other schools.

Next, I ask administrators of medical facilities, facilities for the elderly and other such facilities to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures.

The number of new cases has been about 70 in the past few days. Compared to an earlier period, we can say that we are in a trend in which the spread of infections is being contained to some extent. However, the Delta variant is a highly infectious virus with which we cannot let our guard down.

As I told you earlier, 46 clusters of infections have occurred in August and 28 of them have been confirmed at business establishments. When a cluster of infections happens at a business establishment, it not only causes big problems in running the business but also   affects the workers’ families greatly.

When you look at the examples, we can see that the clusters of infections have occurred in immediate surroundings due to a little lack of seriousness.

I would like to ask business owners and their workers to thoroughly take each basic preventative measure and to regularly sanitise equipment. Also, they should make an effort not to spread infections by confirming again the points to be careful of, such as seeing a doctor early if there is a change in their physical condition, utilising teleconferencing, and avoiding having dinners with many people for a long time.

I would like to ask our residents and business operators in the Prefecture to continue taking daily preventative measures as well as to continue following the priority measures and our own concentrated measures so that the spread of infections will be contained.

The efforts made by each and every person will lead to saving our beloved families and friends, as well as save the local medical treatment systems and revitalize the local economy.

I would like to ask you again for your understanding and cooperation.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Monday, 23 August, 2021)

The number of daily new cases has been surpassing 20,000 nationwide every day. If you look at the number of cases by prefecture, some of them have reported record highs in the past several days.

Although the central government has been taking measures such as expanding the state of emergency to 13 prefectures and applying the priority measures to prevent the spread of diseases (stronger measures against the spread of infections) to 16 prefectures, infections are continuing to spread.

In the Prefecture, around 100 cases have been confirmed almost every day. The number of new cases in August has already surpassed 2,200 and the cumulative number of infections has been over 8,000. The spread of infections in the Prefecture is unstoppable.

As a result, the rate of beds being occupied, the number of patients in hospitals and accommodation facilities per 100,000 people, and the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the past week remain at the Stage 4 level. The hospitalisation rate, the usage rate of beds reserved for severely ill patients and the rate of positive results from PCR tests are at the Stage 3 level. The indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, are still worsening. This shows that the medical treatment systems remain in an extremely crisis situation.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government has declared a prefectural state of emergency from 8 August, and requested its residents to refrain from going out and restaurants which serve alcohol to shorten business hours. It has also decided to extend the period of the priority measures which have been implemented for Iwaki City and Koriyama City until 12 September.

In addition, this time, the Prefectural Government has decided to add Fukushima City as an area under priority measures.

I was deeply concerned about the upward trend of infections in Fukushima City, where the number of daily new cases has been exceeding 20 since last week and clusters of infections have also been confirmed. Then today, the Mayor of Fukushima City requested the Prefecture to implement priority measures for the city in order to contain the spread of infections early. The Prefectural Government has decided to add the city to prevent by all means the further spread of infections.

The period for the priority measures in Fukushima City will be from 26 August to 12 September. Also, after assessing the situation of infections in the Prefecture, we intend to formally decide at a meeting of the task force next week the period and areas for concentrated measures, excluding the areas under the priority measures.

I would like to ask you again to take the following measures.

In the cities of Iwaki, Koriyama and Fukushima, please refrain from using restaurants after 8 p.m. Moreover, I urge residents in the cities of Iwaki, Koriyama and Fukushima to take the following measures.

In order to contain the spread of infections, it is necessary to reduce the opportunities of people contacting each other by minimising the flow of people as much as possible. Please avoid crowding and strictly refrain from going to crowded places.

Also, this is a request to all the residents in the Prefecture. Please refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons and, in principle, cancel your plans to travel or to return to your family home especially to areas across prefectural borders. Please refrain from taking actions that have a high risk of infections such as eating and drinking or drinking alcohol with groups on the streets or in the parks.

Next, this is a request to business operators running restaurants and other such places. I have already asked restaurants in the cities of Iwaki and Koriyama to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day as well as to stop serving alcohol all day. This time, I ask restaurants in Fukushima City to follow suit after 26 August.

Also, in the entire Prefecture except for the cities of Iwaki, Koriyama and Fukushima, I ask restaurants which serve alcohol and restaurants with hospitality services to continue to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day.

Next, in the cities of Iwaki, Koriyama and Fukushima, I would like to ask business operators running businesses other than restaurants such as large-scale facilities that attract many customers to close their businesses by 8 p.m.

I also ask administrators of large-scale commercial facilities and the underground food section of department stores to implement measures such as regulating and guiding visitors, as well as controlling the number of visitors and restricting entry in order to prevent crowding. Also, with the priority measures in the cities of Iwaki, Koriyama and Fukushima, we will be providing a cash payment to businesses which cooperate with the request of shortening business hours.

Furthermore, this is a request to business operators who are holding events. Please follow the industry-specific guidelines and thoroughly take preventative measures.

Next, I ask all business operators to be thorough in taking preventative measures at their workplaces. Please cooperate in reducing the opportunities of employees to contact each other, reducing the opportunities of them to go out and decreasing as much as possible the number of commuters by 70 percent.

In addition, I ask administrators of universities and specialized training colleges to be thorough in raising the awareness of students about changing their behavior. Please remind them to refrain from taking actions such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken, and attending social gatherings with many people.

Moreover, I ask administrators of elementary, junior and senior high schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures such as cancelling learning activities and overnight school events which have a high risk of infections, as well as cancelling practices or practice games with other schools.

Next, I ask administrators of medical facilities, facilities for the elderly and other such facilities to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures.

This time, following Iwaki City and Koriyama City, Fukushima City is set to be subjected to the priority measures. The total population of these three cities accounts for about half of the population of the entire Prefecture and it is these residents who are being requested to be under the strict restrictions and constraints.

Due to the heavy flow of people and extensive living areas of these three cities, there is an aspect which shows a remarkably big impact in other areas. In that sense, I believe that we should by all means contain the rapid spread of infections in the three core cities by thoroughly implementing the priority measures until 12 September.

Also, in addition to this, I would like to ask people in the other 56 municipalities to thoroughly follow the concentrated measures. As for the entire Prefecture, I would like to ask people to try and calm down the rapid spread of infections amid this raging Delta variant.

I am sorry to ask the residents and business operators in the Prefecture to do various things. However, in order to by all means contain this spread of infections, I hope we can all come together as one and take part in following these measures.

I would like to ask for your understanding and cooperation.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 20 August, 2021)

Infections are rapidly spreading as the number of daily new cases surpassed a record high of 25,000 nationwide. If you look at the number of cases by prefecture, some of them have reported record highs in the past several days.

As the highly infectious Delta variant is raging nationwide, the central government has declared a state of emergency for 13 prefectures and issued priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) to 16 prefectures.

It has also extended the deadline of these measures to 12 September.

Since the Prefecture set a daily record high of 230 on 11 August, around 100 new cases have been confirmed almost every day. The spread of infections in the Prefecture is unstoppable.

As a result, the rate of beds being occupied, the number of patients in hospitals and accommodation facilities per 100,000 people, and the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the past week remain at the Stage 4 level. The hospitalisation rate, the usage rate of beds reserved for severely ill patients and the rate of positive results from PCR tests are at the Stage 3 level. The indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, are still worsening. This shows that the medical treatment systems remain in an extremely crisis situation.

Considering these circumstances, the Fukushima Prefectural Government has declared a prefectural state of emergency, and requested its residents to refrain from going out and restaurants which serve alcohol to shorten business hours. It has also decided to extend the period of the priority measures which have been implemented for Iwaki City from 31 August until 12 September.

In addition, this time, the Prefectural Government has decided to add Koriyama City as an area under priority measures.

I was deeply concerned about the situation in Koriyama City, where the number of daily new cases has been exceeding 20 since the beginning of this week. Then today, the Mayor of Koriyama City requested the Prefecture to implement priority measures for the city in order to contain the spread of infections early. The Prefectural Government has decided to add the city to prevent by all means the further spread of infections.

The period for the priority measures in Koriyama City will be from 23 August to 12 September. Also, after assessing the situation of infections in the Prefecture, we intend to formally decide at a meeting of the task force next week the period and areas for concentrated measures, excluding the areas under the priority measures.

I would like to ask you again to take the following measures.

In the cities of Iwaki and Koriyama, please refrain from using restaurants after 8 p.m. Moreover, I urge residents in the cities of Iwaki and Koriyama to avoid going to crowded places.

Also, this is a request to all the residents in the Prefecture. Please refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons and, in principle, cancel your plans to travel or to return to your family home especially to areas across prefectural borders. Please refrain from taking actions that have a high risk of infections such as eating and drinking or drinking alcohol with groups on the streets or in the parks.

Next, this is a request to business operators running restaurants and other such places. I request restaurants and other such places in Iwaki City to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day as well as to stop serving alcohol all day.

In addition, I ask restaurants in Koriyama City to follow suit after 23 August.

Also, in the entire Prefecture except for the cities of Iwaki and Koriyama, I ask restaurants which serve alcohol and restaurants with hospitality services to continue to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day.

Next, in the cities of Iwaki and Koriyama, I would like to ask business operators running businesses other than restaurants such as large-scale facilities that attract many customers to close their businesses by 8 p.m.

I also ask administrators of large-scale commercial facilities and the underground food section of department stores to implement measures such as regulating and guiding visitors, as well as controlling the number of visitors and restricting entry in order to prevent crowding. Also, with the priority measures in the cities of Iwaki and Koriyama, we will be providing a cash payment to businesses which cooperate with the request of shortening business hours.

Furthermore, this is a request to business operators who are holding events. Please follow the industry-specific guidelines and thoroughly take preventative measures.

Next, I ask all business operators to be thorough in taking preventative measures at their workplaces. Please cooperate in reducing the opportunities of employees to contact each other and reducing the opportunities of them to go out.

In addition, I ask administrators of universities and specialized training colleges to be thorough in raising the awareness of students about changing their behavior. Please remind them to refrain from taking actions such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken, and attending social gatherings with many people.

Moreover, I ask administrators of elementary, junior and senior high schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures such as cancelling learning activities and overnight school events which have a high risk of infections, as well as cancelling practices or practice games with other schools.

Next, I ask administrators of medical facilities, facilities for the elderly and other such facilities to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures.

Currently, the situation of infections in the Prefecture is extremely serious. Circumstances in areas surrounding our Prefecture are getting worse as the state of emergency has been issued for the three prefectures in the North Kanto region and Miyagi Prefecture is now under the priority measures. The entire country, including Fukushima, is in the middle of the fifth wave of infections. This fifth wave of infections is a fight against the Delta variant. In order to overcome the raging Delta variant, it is important for each and every person to have a heightened sense of awareness and take preventative measures.

Unfortunately, following Iwaki City, Koriyama City is set to be subjected to the priority measures. In order to prevent these areas from expanding in the Prefecture, first, people should be thorough in following the priority measures in the cities of Iwaki and Koriyama. Also, it is of utmost importance that we carry out our own concentrated measures in the entire Prefecture to contain and stop the rapid spread of infections.

Working together with our residents, the Prefectural Government is determined by all means to overcome this difficult situation.

I would like to ask you again for your understanding and cooperation.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Wednesday, 18 August, 2021)

The number of daily new cases surpassed 20,000 for the first time nationwide. Infections are spreading at a pace faster than ever before, as the number of new cases has been hitting record highs elsewhere in the country. Japan as a whole is right in the middle of the fifth wave of infections.

The highly infectious Delta variant is raging and infections continue to spread rapidly. As a result, yesterday on 17 August, the central government decided to add the seven prefectures of Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka to the six prefectures where the state of emergency has already been issued, as well as add 10 more prefectures to the areas where the priority measures to prevent the spread of diseases (stronger measures against the spread of infections) have been issued. The duration has been set to be from 20 August to 12 September. Also, in line with this, the 31 August deadline of the current state of emergency covering six prefectures and the priority measures covering six prefectures, including Fukushima Prefecture, was extended to 12 September.

In the Prefecture, the number of new cases confirmed on 11 August was 230, hitting a record high and around 100 new cases have been confirmed almost every day. The cumulative number of infections for August has already surpassed 1,700, and infections are spreading about 2.5 times faster than the pace of May, which had a monthly record high.

As a result, the rate of beds being occupied, the number of patients in hospitals and accommodation facilities per 100,000 people, and the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the past week remain at the Stage 4 level. The hospitalisation rate, the usage rate of beds reserved for severely ill patients, and the rate of positive results from PCR tests are at the Stage 3 level. The indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, keep on worsening.

In particular, the rate of beds being occupied is in an extremely serious situation. As a result, the Prefectural Government has increased the number of beds which are immediately available and has strengthened the system for hospitalisation. However, the situation continues to be at the Stage 4 level and the hospitalisation rate has been lower than 40 percent since 11 August. This shows that the medical treatment systems remain in an extremely crisis situation.

Considering these circumstances, the Fukushima Prefectural Government has declared a prefectural state of emergency while also implementing the priority measures in Iwaki City during the period from 8 August to 31 August. In addition, for the whole Prefecture, requests are being made to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons and to shorten business hours of the restaurants and other such places which serve alcohol. Based on the decisions made at the meeting of the government’s Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters yesterday, it was decided that the contents of the priority measures which have been implemented in Iwaki City will be revised. They will be applied from 20 August and the period will be extended until 12 September.

Also, after assessing the situation of infections in the Prefecture, we intend to formally decide at a meeting of the task force next week, whether the priority measures will be expanded to areas other than Iwaki City as well as the period and areas for concentrated measures. 

Therefore, I would like to make again requests to our residents.

First, in Iwaki City, please refrain from using restaurants and other such places after 8:00 p.m. Moreover, this time, I would like to urge people in Iwaki City to follow the newly added details of the priority measures for Iwaki City. Please strictly avoid going to crowded places, etc.

Also, in the entire Prefecture, please refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons as well as in principle cancel your plans to travel or to return to your family home to areas across prefectural borders.

I would like to ask you to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk of infections, such as eating and drinking or drinking alcohol with groups outdoors like on the streets or in the parks. Also, I would like to ask you again to be thorough in taking basic preventative measures such as securing proper physical distance, wearing a mask and sanitising your hands, etc.

Secondly, this is a request to business operators running restaurants and other such places. I request restaurants and other such places in Iwaki City to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day as well as to stop serving alcohol all day.

Also, I would like to ask restaurants which serve alcohol and restaurants with hospitality services in the rest of the Prefecture to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day.

Next, I would like to ask other business operators running large-scale facilities that attract many customers and other such places in Iwaki City to close their businesses by 8 p.m. Also, please be thorough in taking preventative measures in the establishments and facilities.

Furthermore, these are the new contents which will be added to the priority measures in Iwaki City. In order not to have visitors crowding, I would like to ask administrators of large-scale commercial facilities to implement measures such as regulating and guiding visitors, as well as controlling the number of visitors and restricting entry. Please note that with the extension of the priority measures in Iwaki City, we will be providing a cash payment to business operators which cooperate with the request of shortening business hours.

Furthermore, this is a request to business operators who are holding events. Please follow the industry-specific guidelines and thoroughly take preventative measures when holding events. Also, I ask them to consult with the Prefecture beforehand when planning to hold an event which entails the movement of people around the country.

As well, this is a request to all business operators. I ask them to again be thorough in taking preventative measures at their workplaces. Please cooperate in reducing the opportunities of employees to contact each other by utilising teleworking and online meetings, and reducing the opportunities of them to go out by minimising business trips and meetings.

In addition, this is a request to universities and schools. I ask the administrators of universities and specialized training colleges to be thorough in raising the awareness of students about changing their behavior. Please remind them to refrain from taking actions such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken, and attending social gatherings with many people.

Moreover, this is a request to elementary, junior and senior high schools. I ask the administrators of elementary, junior and senior high schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures such as cancelling learning activities and overnight school events which have a high risk of infections, as well as cancelling practices or practice games with other schools.

Next, I ask administrators of medical facilities, facilities for the elderly and other such facilities to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures.

Currently, the infection status in the Prefecture is in an extremely serious situation.

There are various numerical figures such as the number of new cases and the rate of beds being occupied; however, there are individual patient behind these numbers. Also, there are health care related workers who have been working hard to treat patients, and family members as well as workers who became close contacts of the patients.

I would like to ask each and every person in the Prefecture to come together as one and try to understand this point

Also, circumstances in areas surrounding our Prefecture are getting worse. That is the situation with our neighboring prefectures.

Just days ago, the state of emergency covered only the Tokyo metropolitan area. Fukushima Prefecture has been impacted by this area, and finally three prefectures in the North Kanto region were added to the list of areas which have been subjected to the state of emergency. Furthermore, Miyagi Prefecture has also been subjected to the priority measures. As areas surrounding Fukushima Prefecture are in a similar difficult situation, we will also continue to be impacted considering the geography.

Under these circumstances, what I would like to ask people and business operators in the Prefecture is to be thorough in following the priority measures in Iwaki City and our own concentrated measures in the entire Prefecture. By doing this, we can definitely contain the rapid spread of infections.

Originally, the deadline of the priority measures and concentrated measures was set to be lifted at the end of this month; however, we have no choice but to already ask people to follow the priority measures in Iwaki City until 12 September.

Regarding the rest of the Prefecture, I would like for the people in the Prefecture to understand as well as positively follow the priority measures and our own concentrated measures so that we can manage to lift the measures at the end of this month. I would like to mention again to the people that this is extremely important to Fukushima Prefecture.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Thursday, 12 August, 2021)

Japan is seeing an explosive spread of infections amid the fifth wave of infections as the number of new cases exceeded a record high of 15,800 nationwide yesterday as well as new daily record highs are being hit in several prefectures including Osaka and Kyoto prefectures.

As the spread of infections is unstoppable nationwide, the priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) have been expanded to eight more prefectures including Fukushima since the 8th of this month, bringing the total to 13 prefectures.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government has declared a prefectural state of emergency while implementing the priority measures in Iwaki City during the period from 8 August to 31 August. Also, for areas other than Iwaki City, requests are being made to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons and to shorten restaurants’ business hours.

With regard to the indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based in the Prefecture, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the past week, the number of patients in hospitals and accommodation facilities per 100,000 people, and the rate of beds being occupied are hovering at the Stage 4 level. The hospitalisation rate, the usage rate of beds reserved for severely ill patients, and the rate of positive results from PCR tests remain at the Stage 3 level. This shows that the situation of the local medical treatment systems is extremely serious.  

Considering these circumstances, with the maximum cooperation from medical institutions, we have been coordinating to make sure those who need hospitalisation will be admitted to hospitals. As a result, we have strengthened the system for hospitalisation by adding 101 beds, increasing the number of beds from 496 so far as of yesterday, to secure 597 beds and making all of them immediately available.

However, regarding the situation of infections in the Prefecture, the spread of infections is unstoppable as the number of new daily cases reached 230 yesterday, which significantly exceeds the previous record due to reasons such as the Delta variant replacing other strains and a series of clusters of infections. The spread of infections is outpacing our efforts even as we strengthen the medical treatment systems. This is how things stand now.

The Prefecture is in a crisis situation which is even disrupting critical care.

We are facing a looming collapse of the medical treatment systems in which there would be no beds available if you, your family or your friends need to be hospitalised. I ask you to be fully aware of the situation, and for each and every person to be thorough in taking preventative measures and act prudently.

Also, in the Prefecture, the highly infectious Delta variant is increasingly replacing other strains, and clusters of infections have occurred in various places and situations. This includes not only restaurants, but facilities for children and medical institutions.

Clusters of infections have occurred in immediate surroundings due to a little lack of seriousness. I ask you to pay special attention when situations and places have changed.

Next, this is a request in order to overcome this greatest crisis.

While we are in summer break and the “Obon” season, we must control by all means the flow of people.

Therefore, please in principle cancel or postpone your plans to travel or to return to your family home.

I also ask you to wear a mask and secure enough space between people when talking.

When eating and drinking, please do so with people who are usually around you.

Regarding the vaccinations for the elderly in the Prefecture, I believe that the central government’s goal of administering them by the end of July to all who want them has almost been met as the rate of those who received the first dose was nearly 90 percent and the rate of the second dose was nearly 80 percent at the end of July.

The rate for the entire residents of the Prefecture who received the first dose was 50 percent and the rate of the second dose was over 40 percent as of 10 August.

However, even people have been fully vaccinated can get infected and develop symptoms. Please thoroughly take preventative measures such as wearing a mask in order not to transmit or contract the virus.

I would like to ask you again to take the following two actions.

First, please in principle cancel or postpone your plans to travel or to return to your family home. We are now in summer break and the “Obon” season. I fully understand that you want to travel or return to your family home.

And yet, the reason I have to make such a request now is because, among the 47 prefectures in Japan, 30 of them are at the Stage 4 level for the number of new cases per 100,000 people and 10 of them are at the Stage 3 level. In other words, 40 out of the 47 prefectures, or the areas where 95% of the population lives, are now over the Stage 3 level. This is the very threat of the 5th wave in infections that Japan is facing now.

Fukushima Prefecture is also under the priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections). This means that Fukushima Prefecture itself is also an area where infections have been greatly spreading. So, we are in a situation where just travelling to areas across prefectural borders will increase your risk of infection as well as that of those who welcome you. Therefore, we hope that your plans to travel or return to your family home, especially to areas across prefectural borders, will be cancelled or postponed.

Second, please eat and drink with people who are usually around you.

In particular, when you return to your family home during the “Obon” and summer holidays and dine with people who are not usually around you, including your family members, this occasion of taking off your masks will increase the risk of infections.

The risk of infections now is totally different from that of two months ago.

Until one month ago, there was no case of L452R confirmed in Fukushima Prefecture. However, data shows that the variant has been increasingly replacing other strains, and is now 80% of all the cases in the Prefecture and 100% in Iwaki City. L452R is highly infectious and causes an increased risk of hospitalisation as well as weakens protection from vaccines. It is a very high-risk virus for us.

Therefore, I want you to keep in mind that dining without a mask with people who are not usually around you will significantly increase the risk of infections. I am convinced the effect of L452R is connected to the 230 new positive cases in one day which was announced today. In one day, the number of new cases more than doubled the last worst record of 114 cases. Even though we added 101 beds and 60 hotel rooms yesterday, they could be filled up in an instant by calculation if this pace of having 230 daily cases continues.

Now, this summer is a very crucial period for us to be thorough in taking preventative measures. I want to share these points with our residents, and ask each and every person to thoroughly take preventative measures here in Fukushima especially because it is under its own state of emergency. In particular, I want you to make sure not to travel to areas across prefectural borders and not to eat with people who are not usually around you without a mask. By asking you to take these measures thoroughly, I want to contain by all means this current spread of infections.

I would like to ask you again for your continued cooperation.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Thursday, 5 August, 2021)

Today, the number of new cases surpassed 15,000 nationwide and hit a record high. Infections are spreading at a pace faster than ever before, as the number of new cases has been hitting record highs elsewhere in the country including Tokyo metropolis, where the number stood at 5,042, which is a record high.

Here in the Prefecture, the number of new cases confirmed on 2 August was 114, recording triple digits for the first time and also 106 cases were confirmed yesterday. The number of new cases per 100,000 people in the past week, the number of patients in hospitals and accommodation facilities per 100,000 people, and the rate of beds being occupied are at the Stage 4 level. The usage rate of beds reserved for severely ill patients and the rate of positive results from PCR tests have reached the Stage 3 level. The indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, keep on worsening. In particular, the rate of beds being occupied is approaching 80 percent, resulting in the scarce availability of rooms for patients. This shows that the medical treatment systems are in an extremely serious situation.

Under such a crisis situation, the Prefectural Government will be declaring its own prefectural state of emergency to stop the rapid spread of infections and to prevent the medical treatment systems from collapsing.

Among the municipalities, with regards to Iwaki City, I have requested the central government be subjected to the priority measures to prevent the spread of diseases (stronger measures against the spread of infections). Today, the request was deliberated at the meeting of the government’s Advisory Committee on the Basic Action Policies. It was officially decided that the priority measures will be applied to the Prefecture at the meeting of the government’s Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters which was held earlier.

In response to this, the Prefectural Government will implement the priority measures to prevent the spread of diseases (stronger measures against the spread of infections) in Iwaki City from 8 August to 31 August. Also, the requests of refraining from going out and shortening business hours for restaurants and other such places which serve alcohol are currently being implemented in three cities of Fukushima, Koriyama and Iwaki. These requests will be expanded to the entire Prefecture.

Therefore, I would like to make a request to our residents.

First, in Iwaki City, please refrain from using restaurants and other such places after 8:00 p.m. Also, in the entire Prefecture, please refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons as well as in principle cancel your plans to travel or to return to your family home to areas across prefectural borders.

I would like to ask you to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk of infections, such as eating and drinking or drinking alcohol with groups outdoors like on the streets or in the parks. Also, I would like to ask you again to be thorough in taking basic preventative measures such as securing proper physical distance, sanitising your hands, etc.

Secondly, this is a request to business operators running restaurants and other such places. During the period from 8 August to 31 August, I request restaurants and other such places in Iwaki City to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day as well as to stop serving alcohol all day

Also, I would like to ask restaurants with hospitality services and restaurants which serve alcohol in the rest of the Prefecture to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day.

Next, I would like to ask other business operators in Iwaki City to close their businesses by 8 p.m. Also, please be thorough in taking preventative measures in the establishments or facilities. Please note that we will be providing a cash payment to business operators which cooperate with the request of shortening business hours. In addition, other businesses are expected to be impacted by the requests of having restaurants shorten business hours and having residents refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons. Therefore, we will be providing a temporary financial relief fund to small to mid-sized companies as well as to sole proprietors whose sales have decreased more than 30 percent compared to the previous fiscal year or two fiscal years prior.

Furthermore, this is a request to business operators who are holding events. Please follow the industry-specific guidelines and thoroughly take preventative measures when holding events. Also, I ask them to consult with the Prefecture beforehand when planning to hold an event which entails the movement of people around the country.

As well, this is a request to all business operators. I ask them to again be thorough in taking preventative measures at their workplaces. Please cooperate in reducing the opportunities of employees to contact each other by utilising teleworking and online meetings, and reducing the opportunities of them to go out by minimising business trips and meetings.

In addition, this is a request to universities and schools.

I ask the administrators of universities and specialized training colleges to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Please remind students to refrain from taking actions such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken, and attending social gatherings with many people.

Moreover, this is a request to elementary, junior and senior high schools.

I ask the administrators of elementary, junior and senior high schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures such as cancelling learning activities which have a high risk of infections, as well as cancelling practices or practice games with other schools.

Next, I ask administrators of medical facilities, facilities for the elderly and other such facilities to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures.

Currently, the infection status in the Prefecture is in an extremely crisis situation. By sharing this sense of crisis with the residents and business operators in the Prefecture, I hope we can overcome this situation together. I would like to ask for your understanding and cooperation.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Monday, 2 August, 2021)

The spread of COVID-19 remains unstoppable as the number of new cases has been exceeding 10,000 nationwide in the past several days as well as new daily record highs are being hit elsewhere around the country. Also, in Tokyo metropolis where the state of emergency is in place, the flow of people has not decreased compared to during the previous state of emergency. In addition, as more than 4,000 daily new cases were reported for the first time, the speed in the spread of infections has been increasing further.

Considering the situation where infections are spreading at an unprecedented speed and the Delta variant is replacing other strains rapidly, the central government decided on 30 July to declare a state of emergency for the prefectures of Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Osaka. This expands to a total of six prefectures including Tokyo metropolis and Okinawa Prefecture which had already been under the state of emergency. It also decided to implement priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) in five prefectures of Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Hyogo, Kyoto and Fukuoka.

The number of new cases has also been significantly increasing in the Prefecture mainly in the cities of Fukushima, Koriyama and Iwaki which have been already under concentrated measures. The indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, are worsening rapidly as the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the past week, the number of patients in hospitals and accommodation facilities per 100,000 people, and the rate of beds being occupied are at the Stage 4 level as well as the usage rate of beds reserved for severely ill patients is over the Stage 3 level. This shows that we are in a serious situation.  

In the three cities of Fukushima, Koriyama and Iwaki, there is a heavy flow of people, and the living areas and economic zones are extensive. Unless we definitely contain the spread of infections in these three cities, it will lead to a rapid spread of infections in the entire Prefecture and the collapse of medical treatment systems.

In particular, as clusters of infections have occurred one after another since the beginning of July and the highly infectious Delta variant is increasingly replacing other strains, we are in a serious situation where an explosive spread of the virus could occur.

The Prefectural Government decided to implement its own concentrated measures for Koriyama City on the 24th and for Fukushima City and Iwaki City on the 28th of last month. I believe, first and foremost, it is important that the concentrated measures are thoroughly implemented in these three cities.

However, especially for Iwaki City, it is in a crisis situation never seen before with 27 new cases being confirmed yesterday, and the number of positive results from PCR tests per 100,000 people has significantly worsened at 55.55 people as of yesterday.

As there is a fear of further spread of infections, the Mayor of Iwaki City requested that the Prefecture be subjected to the priority measures (stronger measures against the spread of infections) today. The Prefectural Government also considers it necessary to take stronger measures in order to prevent by all means the further spread of infections, and has decided to request the central government to apply the priority measures to the Prefecture.

We will immediately request and coordinate with the central government for the smooth implementation of the priority measures.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Wednesday, 28 July, 2021)

As the number of new cases is continuing to increase, infections are rapidly spreading nationwide. In the past week, there were days when the daily number of new cases surpassed 5,000 and yesterday, this number surpassed 7,000. In Tokyo metropolis, in particular, even after the declaration of the state of emergency, the flow of people has not decreased compared to the past state of emergencies. Today, the number of daily new cases surpassed 3,000 which is a record high.

In the Prefecture, yesterday, the number of new cases stood at 80 which was the second highest we have ever counted and this shows a clear upward trend.

In particular, in the past few days, infections have been rapidly spreading not only in Koriyama City, where concentrated measures are already being implemented, but also in Fukushima City and Iwaki City. The number of new cases in the past week per 100,000 people has surpassed the Stage 3 level. Also, the indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, are rapidly worsening as the rate of beds being occupied surpassed the Stage 4 level in both Ken-poku and Iwaki districts. This shows that the cities are in a serious situation which is putting a significant burden on the medical treatment systems.

Under these circumstances, the Prefectural Government has decided to newly implement the concentrated measures for Fukushima City and Iwaki City, which follows Minamisoma City and Koriyama City.

This time, I am committed to strongly and quickly implement measures in order to contain the spread of infections and reduce the impact on medical treatment systems at a minimum as much as possible in the entire Prefecture.

The Mayors of Fukushima City and Iwaki City are on the same page with me about this as they called me respectively this afternoon and requested the Prefecture to take stricter preventative measures to contain the spread of infections in their cities early.

First, this is a request to residents in Fukushima City and Iwaki City. It is important to reduce the flow of people; therefore, please refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons from 31 July to 22 August.

Also, I ask business operators running restaurants with hospitality services and restaurants which serve alcohol in both cities to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day during the period from 31 July to 22 August. We will provide a “cash payment for the cooperation in preventing the spread of COVID-19” to businesses which cooperate with the request, in accordance with its sales. We will also be providing cash payments to businesses which start cooperating from today to 30 July.

I ask the administrators of universities and specialized training colleges to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Also, I ask the administrators of elementary, junior and senior high schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures such as cancelling learning activities which have a high risk of infections, as well as cancelling practices or practice games with other schools.

Similarly, I ask administrators of medical facilities, facilities for the elderly and other such facilities to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures.

Currently, we are in an extremely difficult situation where we have to ask for voluntary restraints from all of the core cities in the Prefecture. Therefore, I ask residents in each city as well as each and every person in the neighbouring municipalities who share the same living area to fully understand this situation and thoroughly take preventative measures.

On the other hand, regarding the concentrated measures which have been implemented in Minamisoma City from the 9th this month, the Mayor of Minamisoma City told me, “As the number of new cases has decreased and the situation is being kept comparatively stable, I would like to have the concentrated measures end as scheduled.” Therefore, Fukushima Prefectural Government will end the concentrated measures implemented in Minamisoma City at the end of this month, as we consider comprehensively that the rate of beds being occupied in the medical care area is improving.

Next, this is a request to our residents and business operators. Cases of L452R, the most dominant mutation of the Delta variant, have been reported one after another in each area of the Prefecture, since the first case of L452R was confirmed on the 15th of this month. It is indicated that the Delta variant is highly infectious along with having the possibility of being high risk for hospitalisation when people become infected as well as diminishing the vaccine’s effects.

Also, currently, clusters of infections have occurred in the Prefecture one after another. 20 clusters have been confirmed only in this month, and this number marked the highest in months. 16 of the 20 clusters are involved with restaurants. Although it has been reiterated, the risk of infections increases while eating and drinking with someone. The Prefectural Government has asked residents to be thorough in taking basic preventative measures such as wearing a mask, washing and sanitising your hands frequently and having frequent air ventilation; however, some clusters were caused due to a little lack of seriousness.

The occurrence of clusters will cause a rapid spread of infections and strain the medical treatment systems, which might lead to the situation where people’s lives that could be saved may not be saved. I ask you to take action after being fully aware of this.

Also, during this four consecutive holidays, some people have tested positive after returning home from places where infections have been greatly spreading such as Tokyo metropolitan area or came back to Fukushima after returning home to places such as Tokyo metropolitan area. There have been cases of infections confirmed after meeting or having dinners with many people such as their friends or coworkers as well.

In particular, when eating and drinking, please avoid doing so with a large number of people for a long time as well as drink in moderation. I also ask you to wear a mask when talking and refrain from speaking in loud voices as well as use restaurants with thorough preventative measures in place.

This summer, please in principle cancel or postpone your plans to travel for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading. If you are planning to travel or to return to your family home to areas across prefectural borders, I ask you to refrain from going as much as possible.

Depending on the situation of infections and the rate of beds being occupied in the future, we would have to take stronger measures in the entire Prefecture including Minamisoma City, where the concentrated measures are to be lifted. Therefore, as I have been repeating, I ask you to be fully aware of this and make sure that each and every person reviews their daily preventative measures and be thorough again in taking these measures.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Saturday, 24 July, 2021)

In Koriyama City, since the beginning of June, the number of new cases had been hovering in the single digits. However, this number has been showing a noticeable upward trend as it has continued to exceed 10 people in the past few days as well as the number of new cases in the past week per 100,000 people has surpassed the Stage 3 level.

When you look at the change in the number of new cases in the past week, the number started to increase since 18 July, and is the highest in the Prefecture. Since the beginning of July, four clusters of infections have been confirmed at restaurants and business establishments in Koriyama City. As cases of L452R, the most dominant mutation of the Delta variant, were also confirmed, there is a fear of a further spread of infections.

Also, there has already been a lot of wide-area coordination in accepting patients in the Ken-chu District. This shows that the city is in a serious situation which is putting a significant burden on the medical treatment systems. If new clusters of infections should occur now due to travelling between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading, or due to eating and drinking or having dinners with many people, it could lead to a larger explosive spread of the virus and the medical treatment systems could fall into crisis.

Under these circumstances, today, the Mayor of Koriyama City requested the Prefecture to take stricter preventative measures to contain the spread of infections in the city.

Therefore, the Prefecture has also decided that there is a need to swiftly implement necessary measures. I would like to make three requests to the residents and business operators in the whole area of Koriyama City based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases.

First, please refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons from 26 July to 15 August.

Second, I ask restaurants with hospitality services and restaurants which serve alcohol in the city to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the period from 26 July to 15 August. We will provide a “cash payment for the cooperation in preventing the spread of COVID-19” to businesses which cooperate with the request, in accordance with its sales. We will also be providing cash payments to businesses which start cooperating today and on the 25th.

Third, this is a request to universities and schools.

During the period from 26 July to 15 August, I ask the administrators of universities and   specialized training colleges to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Please remind students to refrain from taking actions such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken, and attending social gatherings with many people.

Similarly, I ask the administrators of elementary, junior and senior high schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures such as cancelling learning activities which have a high risk of infections, as well as cancelling practices or practice games with other schools during the period from 26 July to 15 August.

I also ask administrators of medical facilities, facilities for the elderly and such other facilities to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures.

Next, this is again a request to our residents and business operators. Occasions for going out and eating and drinking with others are expected to increase as many schools are already in summer break and the season for the “Obon” approaches.

Therefore, please basically cancel or postpone your plans to travel for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading. This includes areas where the state of emergency or priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) have been issued. 

Also, considering the Delta variant is spreading nationwide, if you are planning to travel or to return to your family home, including to areas across prefectural borders, I ask you to talk to your family or friends about that travel and refrain from going as much as possible.

Additionally, when eating and drinking, please avoid doing so with a large number of people for a long time as well as drink in moderation. I also ask you to wear a mask when talking and refrain from speaking in loud voices as well as use restaurants with thorough preventative measures in place.

Again, it is important that we take basic preventative measures thoroughly to prevent the spread of infections. I ask you to be fully aware of this and make sure that each and every person reviews their daily preventative measures and again be thorough in taking these measures.

On the other hand, very hot days are continuing. Please be careful not to get heat stroke and take preventative measures at the same time such as by taking off the mask if you are able to secure proper physical distance from other people outside, having adequate hydration, and having frequent air ventilation even if air conditioning is on, etc.

As of right now, the people in Koriyama City are in a crucial situation to prevent the spread of infections in the city. After being aware of the state of infections and how the situation of the medical treatment systems is extremely serious, they need to carefully take action.

In addition, I would like to ask residents in Minamisoma City to continue to take the concentrated measures which will be effective until the end of this month.

Although these measures may cause you trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask you to cooperate while understanding the purpose of the request.

I would like to ask our residents and business operators in the Prefecture to continue having a heightened sense of awareness and not to let their guard down, and make sure that each and every person takes preventative measures for themselves, their loved ones and to protect the medical treatment systems.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Wednesday, 21 July, 2021)

First of all, the other day, some junior high school students in Fukushima City brought “Citrus Ribbons” which they made by themselves to the Prefectural Government Office. The Citrus Ribbon Project is a campaign started in Ehime Prefecture, aiming to eliminate discrimination and prejudice related to COVID-19. The citrus-colored ribbon is made up of three loops that represent the region, home, and school, or workplace and contains the wish for each place to be comfortable for everyone.

When the students learned about the discrimination and prejudice against health care related workers and other related people in class, they thought, “Is there something we can do?” and started this campaign.

After fully recognising the feelings and ideas behind the Citrus Ribbon, it made me more committed to work hard in preventative measures while having each and every person be considerate towards health care related workers, people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their families. In doing so, they will not be hurt by discrimination or prejudice.

I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude again to the health care related workers as well as the people countering the infectious disease. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

Since 14 July, the number of daily new cases has occasionally surpassed 3,000 nationwide, and there have been noticeable signs that the infections have been spreading. In Tokyo metropolis, in particular, the number of cases has been clearly increasing with over 1,000 new cases being confirmed everyday even after the declaration of the state of emergency. .

Also, regarding the Delta variant which is thought to be highly infectious, it is spreading nationwide and will likely rapidly replace other strains in the future.

On the other hand, in the Prefecture, the rate of positive results from PCR tests per 100,000 people in the past week fell below the Stage 3 level in cities including Minamisoma City, where residents are cooperating in taking concentrated measures at the moment. However, we need to continue to carefully observe the situation of infections in each area including Aizuwakamatsu City, where the rate is still high, and Koriyama City, where the number of new daily cases was 14 yesterday, recording double-digits for the first time in about two months.

Also, in the Prefecture, a case of L452R, the most dominant mutation of the Delta variant was confirmed on the 15th of this month for the first time, and more have been confirmed later. This shows that we remain in a serious situation.

When you look at the seven categories of the five indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, they are corresponding to Stage 2 in the entire Prefecture. However, the rate of beds being occupied remains at the Stage 3 level. Once infections spread, we could be in an extremely serious situation which could put a significant burden on the medical treatment systems in the entire Prefecture.

I would like to ask our residents to understand the situation and make sure that each and every person takes thorough preventative measures without letting their guard down.

Next, this is a request to residents in Minamisoma City again. They have been following concentrated measures which are being implemented until the end of this month.

Please continue to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons.

Also, I ask business operators running restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places in the city to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day.

I ask administrators of specialized training colleges to be thorough in raising the awareness of your students, and those of elementary, junior and senior high schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures such as canceling learning activities which have a high risk for infections, as well as practices or practice games with other schools.

I ask administrators of medical facilities and facilities for the elderly and other such facilities to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures as well.

It is important to definitely stop the spread of infections and break the cycle of infections including the highly infectious Delta variant.

Although these requests may cause you inconvenience and trouble, I would like to ask you to understand the purpose of the requests and thoroughly follow these measures.

Next, the softball games are being held at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium today as the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Also, occasions for going out and eating and drinking with others are expected to increase as many schools have gone on break for the summer, along with consecutive holidays starting tomorrow and the season for the “Obon” approaches.

Therefore, this is a request to our residents and business operators. Please basically cancel or postpone your plans to travel for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading. This includes areas where the state of emergency or priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) have been issued. 

Also, considering the Delta variant is spreading nationwide, if you are planning to travel or to return to your family home, including to areas across prefectural borders, I ask you to talk to your family or friends about that travel and refrain from going as much as possible.

Additionally, there have been cases that infections spread while having dinners with relatives or visiting their houses to say hello, then after, spreading from the person to his/her family members, acquaintances or coworkers. Therefore, when eating and drinking, please avoid doing so with a large number of people for a long time as well as drink in moderation. I also ask you to wear a mask when talking and refrain from speaking in loud voices as well as use restaurants with thorough preventative measures in place.

Again, it is important that we take basic preventative measures thoroughly to prevent the spread of infections. I ask you to be fully aware of this and make sure that each and every person reviews their daily preventative measures and again be thorough in taking these measures.

On the other hand, very hot days are continuing. Please be careful not to get heat stroke and take preventative measures at the same time such as by taking off the mask if you are able to secure proper physical distance from other people outside, having adequate hydration, and having frequent air ventilation even if air conditioning is on, etc.

Regarding the vaccinations for the elderly in the Prefecture, we have been making smooth progress towards the goal of finishing them by the end of July as the rate of those who received the first dose was 82.4 percent and the rate of the second dose was 60.4 percent as of 19 July.

The rate of entire residents of the Prefecture who received the first dose was 40.9 percent and the rate of the second dose was 28.3 percent.

With regard to the distribution of the vaccines, the central government decided again on two weeks’ worth of doses which will be used until 15 August, including a vaccine adjustment scheme under which prefectural governments can decide at their own discretion the amount of vaccine to distribute to their municipalities. However, the doses to be distributed will be less than half of the amount that is desired.

Although the Prefectural Government is trying to adjust the distribution of vaccines by making use of a surplus vaccine-sharing arrangement and a vaccine adjustment scheme, some municipalities are being forced to deal with the difficult situation such as by revising their vaccination plans due to the shortage of absolute quantity.

Considering these circumstances, today, I personally made a request to Minister Kono regarding the future supply of vaccines.

We will continue to exert the utmost effort towards supporting municipalities to smoothly conduct vaccinations as we hear the progress and requests from each municipality.

The situation of the medical treatment systems and the infection status in the Prefecture remain serious. As there are also concerns about the Delta variant replacing other strains nationwide, we need to continue to work hard towards preventing the infections from spreading.

Let’s continue to be alert and prevent a rebound of new cases by having a continued awareness from each and every person.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Thursday, 15 July, 2021)

First of all, there was a poster distributed across the Prefecture the other day which has a collection of encouraging words for health care related workers and I would like to share with you one of the messages. The message was from an elementary school boy. It said, “Thank you very much for always working hard for us despite being in such a difficult situation. I will try and do my part to help in the pandemic”.

The dedication of the health care related workers in the medical setting motivates many residents, including this boy, to do their best and has led them to take action in preventing the spread of infections.

I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude again to the health care related workers as well as the people countering the infectious disease. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

The number of new cases which was showing a downward trend at one point has started to increase again nationwide. The daily new cases has been clearly increasing, and in Tokyo, there were more than 1,100 daily new cases confirmed on 14 July for the first time since 13 May.

With regard to the Delta strain, it has been confirmed in the neighbouring prefectures of Miyagi and Iwate, and has been spreading nationwide.

Here in the Prefecture, four cases of L452R, the most dominant mutation of the Delta variant, was confirmed today in Fukushima City, Koriyama City, etc. This shows that we remain in a serious situation.

Amid such circumstances, the central government decided on the 8th to extend the period of the state of emergency for Okinawa Prefecture and the priority measures (stronger measures against the spread of infections) covering four prefectures, including Kanagawa and Osaka prefectures until 22 August as well as to have Tokyo metropolis switch to a state of emergency from the priority measures.

On the other hand, in the Prefecture, several new cases have been confirmed in Minamisoma City every day and three clusters of infections have also occurred since late June. As the infections are rapidly spreading, I have asked the residents to cooperate in taking concentrated measures which focus on the requests of refraining from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons and restaurants’ shortening business hours until the end of this month.

Although the number of new cases has slightly stabilized in the past few days, the medical treatment systems remain in a difficult situation as a wide-area coordination in accepting patients is being required.

Also, in Aizuwakamatsu City, the number of new cases in the past week per 100,000 people is hovering over the Stage 3 level from 9 July. The city remains in a serious situation; therefore, we need to carefully observe the situation including clusters of infections.

When you look at the seven categories of the five indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based in the entire Prefecture, they are corresponding to Stage 2. However, the rate of beds being occupied remains at the Stage 3 level. Once infections spread, we could be in an extremely serious situation which could put a significant burden on the medical treatment systems in the entire Prefecture.

I would like to ask our residents to understand the situation and make sure that each and every person takes thorough preventative measures without letting their guard down.

Next, this is a request to residents in Minamisoma City. They have been following concentrated measures which are being implemented until the end of this month.

Please continue to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons.

Also, I ask business operators running restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places in the city to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day.

I ask administrators of specialized training colleges to be thorough in raising the awareness of your students, and those of elementary, junior and senior high schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures such as canceling learning activities which have a high risk for infections, as well as practices or practice games with other schools.

I ask administrators of medical facilities and facilities for the elderly and other such facilities to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures as well.

Stopping the spread of infections in the city will not only lead to protecting the medical treatment systems of the city but those of the entire Prefecture.

Although these requests may cause you inconvenience and trouble, I would like to ask you to understand the purpose of the requests and thoroughly follow these measures.

Next, this is a request to our residents and business operators. Currently, clusters of infections have occurred in the Prefecture one after another. Among the 11 clusters confirmed this month so far, nine of them are involved with restaurants. The Prefectural Government has asked residents to be thorough in taking basic preventative measures such as wearing a mask, washing and sanitising your hands frequently and having frequent air ventilation, and many of them have been doing their best to follow these measures. However, the lack of seriousness when eating and drinking which have a high risk of infections has caused the spread of infections in some cases.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will begin next week and we will be having consecutive holidays in conjunction with the opening of the games. Also, occasions for going out and eating and drinking with others are expected to increase as many schools are set to go on break for the summer and the season for the “Obon” and summer holidays approaches.

Again, it is important that we take basic preventative measures thoroughly to prevent the spread of infections. I ask you to be fully aware of this and make sure that each and every person reviews their daily preventative measures and again be thorough in taking these measures.

In particular, please in principle cancel or postpone your plans to travel for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading. This includes areas where the state of emergency or priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) have been issued. 

Considering the Delta variant is spreading nationwide, if you are planning to travel or to return to your family home to areas across prefectural boarders, I ask you to talk to your family or friends about that travel and refrain from going as much as possible.

Additionally, when eating and drinking, please avoid doing so with a large number of people for a long time as well as drink in moderation. I also ask you to wear a mask when talking and refrain from speaking in loud voices as well as use restaurants with thorough preventative measures in place.

Regarding the vaccinations for the elderly in the Prefecture, we have been making smooth progress towards the goal of finishing them by the end of July as the rate of those who received the first dose was 78.6 percent and the rate of the second dose was 52.4 percent as of 13 July.

As for the rate of vaccinations for the general public, including the elderly, those who received the first dose was 38.0 percent, which is nearly 40 percent of the entire population.

With regard to the vaccine supply shortage, measures have already been taken to slow down the speed of vaccinations in some municipalities by halting reservations. I have urged the central government to improve the situation early through the National Governor’s Association. From now on, the Prefectural Government will utilise a surplus vaccine-sharing arrangement among cities and a vaccine adjustment scheme under which prefectural governments can decide at their own discretion the amount of vaccine to distribute to their municipalities. By doing so, we will continue to exert the utmost effort towards supporting municipalities to smoothly conduct vaccinations as we hear the progress and requests from each municipality.

The situation of the medical treatment systems and the infection status in the Prefecture remain serious. As there are also concerns about the Delta variant replacing other strains nationwide including Fukushima, we need to continue to work hard towards preventing the infections from spreading.

Let’s continue to be alert and prevent a rebound of new cases by having a continued awareness from each and every person.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Wednesday, 7 July, 2021)

In Minamisoma City, there were days when no new cases were confirmed last month; however, when looking at the most recent situation, new cases have been confirmed for nine days straight. Infections are rapidly spreading mainly at restaurants with hospitality services and restaurants which serve alcohol.

Also, with two clusters of infections having occurred at restaurants, the number of cases involved in the clusters stood at 21 and the number of new cases totaled 36 in the city in the past week. This is having a serious impact on the medical treatment systems and a wide-area coordination is already being required in accepting patients.

Under such a crisis situation, today, the Mayor of Minamisoma City requested the Prefecture to take stricter preventative measures to contain the spread of infections in the city.

As I have talked about this before, if there is a rebound of new cases again in the Prefecture, I will strongly and quickly implement measures to contain at a minimum the spread of infections.

Considering the current situation of Minamisoma City, we have determined that if the infections continue to spread, they would spread over a wide area of the Prefecture, which could lead to an extremely difficult situation such as strained medical treatment systems all throughout the Prefecture.

Therefore, the Prefectural Government has decided to immediately implement “Concentrated measures for COVID-19” for Minamisoma City. I would like to make three requests to the residents and business operators in the whole area of Minamisoma City based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases.

First, this is a request to residents of Minamisoma City. Please refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons from 9 July to the end of July.

Second, this is a request to restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places in Minamisoma City. I ask them to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the period from 9 July to 1 August. We will provide a “cash payment for the cooperation in preventing the spread of COVID-19” to businesses which cooperate with the request, in accordance with its sales. Businesses which have started cooperating from today to 8 July will also be provided the cash payment.

Third, this is a request to schools. During the period from 9 July to the end of July, I ask the administrators of specialized training colleges to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Please remind students to refrain from taking actions such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken, and attending social gatherings with many people.

Similarly, I ask the administrators of elementary, junior and senior high schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures such as cancelling learning activities which have a high risk of infections, as well as cancelling practices or practice games with other schools.

Also, I ask administrators of medical facilities, facilities for the elderly and other such facilities to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures.

As of right now, the people in Minamisoma City are in a crucial situation to prevent the spread of infections in the city. After being aware of the state of infections and how the situation of the medical treatment systems is extremely serious, they need to take action.

Although these measures may cause you trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask you to cooperate while understanding the purpose of the request.

Next, I would like to talk about the important measures the Prefectural Government has asked residents to follow until the end of June in the whole area of the Prefecture. I have asked residents to continue to thoroughly take the important measures as “the basic measures to prevent the spread of infections” even from July. As the Director General of the Social Health and Welfare Department of the Prefecture explained earlier, seven clusters of infections have occurred in the Prefecture since the beginning of this month.

The number of clusters has already surpassed the monthly total number of clusters in June (5 cases). Six of the seven clusters are involved with restaurants, and when you look at the number of new cases involved with the clusters, 50 out of 55 new cases were caused from restaurants. Therefore, I would like to ask you again to thoroughly take preventative measures when you eat and drink at restaurants where the risk of infections is thought to be high.

Here is a specific example of a cluster. At a restaurant with hospitality services, we have confirmed infections first spread from a customer to a worker, then from the worker to another worker, then from the worker to his/her family members. So, I ask restaurants to implement measures such as securing proper distance by reducing the number of customer seats, having frequent air ventilation, thoroughly sanitising, and checking their workers’ physical condition. Also, I ask people who go to restaurants to be thorough in wearing a mask when talking, and eat and drink with a small number of people for a short time.

Also, even when you have dinners with your acquaintances, please check your physical condition such as measuring your body temperature before going out. If you feel unusual in your physical condition, please take action such as putting off going to the dinner.

I ask you to pay special attention and have a heightened sense of awareness again that the risk of infections is high while eating and drinking with someone. Also, when eating out, please use restaurants with preventative measures place such as Prefecture-approved Fukushima Kansen-boshitaisaku Ninteiten restaurants. I would like to ask you to cooperate further in preventing the spread of infections.

I would like to ask our residents and business operators in the Prefecture to continue having a heightened sense of awareness and not to let their guard down, and make sure that each and every person takes preventative measures for themselves, their loved ones and to protect the medical treatment systems.

Regarding the vaccinations for health care related workers, as of 1 July, about 70,000 workers have mostly finished receiving the vaccine as we assumed early on.

Also, regarding the vaccinations for the elderly, I believe that we have been making smooth progress as the rate of those who received the first dose was about a little less than 70 percent and the second dose was a little under 40 percent as of 5 July.

In order to finish the vaccinations for the elderly by the end of July, the Prefectural Government will continue to exert the utmost effort towards supporting municipalities to smoothly conduct vaccinations by hearing the progress and requests from each municipality.

The indicators which demonstrate the situation of the medical treatment systems and the status of infections in the Prefecture were showing an improving trend for a period of time, but after, the number of new cases has stopped declining and the situation is getting worse as we have seen the signs of a rebound of new cases.

Just a little lack of seriousness could spread the infections rapidly and lead to the collapse of the medical treatment systems. I ask our residents to be fully aware of this and continue to thoroughly follow the preventative measures. Therefore, let’s prevent a rebound of new cases by having a continued awareness from each and every person.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 28 June, 2021)

First of all, as vaccinations are making progress in the Prefecture along with other prefectures in Japan, I heard a story of an elderly person who visited a vaccination site. The person found that the layout of the venue including the guide information and the chairs were arranged for the elderly to easily understand, and that the staff there treated them with care. That blew the person’s worries away.

In carrying out the vaccinations, doctors, nurses as well as municipal officials responsible for running the venues have been working hard as one unit with a strong sense of duty to definitely overcome the virus.

I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude again to the health care related workers as well as the people countering the infectious disease. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

The number of new cases has been showing a downward trend nationwide as a whole. However, in some areas, the decline rate in the number of new cases has been slowing as more people have been going out after the state of emergency was lifted and the highly infectious variant strains have been rapidly spreading. In Tokyo metropolis, Chiba and other prefectures, in particular, the number of new cases has stopped declining and has now started to increase.

On the other hand, in the Prefecture, residents and business operators have been continuing to cooperate in taking important measures to prevent a rebound of new cases. The seven categories of the five indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, are now at the Stage 2 level or lower except for the rate of beds being occupied.

However, there have been signs that the number of new cases has stopped declining as the number of new daily cases and the number of new cases in the past week have occasionally surpassed the same day number of the previous week. Variant strains are also rapidly spreading, and so we need to be careful.

Recently in Koriyama City, in particular, there has been a trend in which the number of new cases has stopped declining and has now started to increase, as well as the rate of infections among people in their 20s and 30s is getting higher.

In addition, the number of cases involved with restaurants is increasing and the rate of cases with unknown transmission routes remains high.

Under these circumstances, due to the possibility of infections spreading rapidly once a cluster occurs, it is important that each one of us continues to be on alert and takes thorough preventative measures.

Next month, occasions for participating in festivals and events will increase during the summer holiday and such, and the flow of people in and out of the Prefecture is expected to increase. In order to prevent a rebound of infections, I would like to ask residents to especially take the following actions towards the summer.

First of all, please always keep in mind to secure enough space between people regardless of whether you are indoors or outdoors. When going out, please check the state of infections for the area you are going to and refrain from travelling to high COVID-19 infection areas. Furthermore, people tend to let their guard down when situations and places change such as when you are in a car travelling. Please be careful as this increases the risk of infections.

Also, as I have already mentioned, in Koriyama City, there has been a trend in which the number of new cases has started to increase. We would have to take stronger measures depending on the trend in the future. I would like to ask residents of Koriyama City as well as those who commute to the city for work or school to think about whether their actions could entail a risk of infections or not and to act more prudently.

Next, I would like to talk about the important measures the Prefectural Government has asked residents to follow until the end of June. I believe that these measures have already been widely established among residents and are being practiced daily.

Considering these circumstances, from now on, I would like to ask residents to continue to take the main actions of the important measures and follow “the basic measures to prevent the spread of infections”.

First of all, while being careful not to get heat stroke, please be thorough in taking basic preventative measures such as wearing a mask, having frequent air ventilation, securing physical distance as well as washing and sanitising your hands.

If you feel unusual in your physical condition, please consult with medical institutions or consultation hotlines (Jyushin-Sodan-Senta) early.

Please be aware that eating and drinking could increase a risk of infections, and use restaurants with preventative measures in place such as Prefecture-approved Fukushima Kansen-boshitaisaku Ninteiten restaurants.

Also, please refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading.

Next, this is a request to business operators. I ask them to be thorough again in taking preventative measures in line with industry-specific guidelines.

I would like to ask people involved at schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures in learning and club activities which have a high risk of infections.

I would like to also ask medical facilities and facility administrators to review again and thoroughly practice preventative measures.

Regarding the vaccinations for health care related workers in the Prefecture, the rate of workers who received the second dose reached 94.1 percent as of the 24th. We expect this to be finished by the end of June.

Also, regarding the vaccinations for the elderly, I believe that we have been making smooth progress as the rate of those who received the first dose was over 50 percent as of the 24th. This means that more than half of the elderly population in the Prefecture has received at least their first dose.

Amid such circumstances, Minister Kono announced on the 23rd last week a temporary suspension of accepting reservations for vaccinations at municipal-run mass vaccination sites and workplaces. This has caused concerns nationwide about an overall supply shortage. In response to this, the National Governor’s Association urgently called on the central government to roll out necessary vaccines in a timely and appropriate manner on the 25th.

In order to finish the vaccinations for the elderly by the end of July, the Prefectural Government will continue to exert the utmost effort towards supporting municipalities to smoothly conduct vaccinations by hearing the progress and requests from each municipality.

Thanks to the understanding and cooperation of our residents, the indicators which demonstrate the situation of the medical treatment systems and the status of infections in the Prefecture are showing an improving trend as a whole.

However, just a little lack of seriousness could spread the infections rapidly and lead to the collapse of the medical treatment systems. I ask our residents to be fully aware of this and continue to thoroughly follow the preventative measures.

Again, if there is a rebound of new cases in the future, we will have to take stronger measures than before. Therefore, let’s prevent a rebound of new cases by having a continued awareness from each and every person.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 18 June, 2021)

First of all, as vaccinations are being fully carried out in each area of the Prefecture and securing more manpower becomes necessary, I have heard that students of a local specialized training college for nursing offered to help their local government carry out the task of doing blood-pressure measurements and other work at mass vaccination sites.

It was the nurses who were struggling on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 that encouraged the students to do such voluntary behavior. The nurses have devotedly worked with the sole purpose of saving patients despite always being at risk of getting infected. When the students saw the hard work of the nurses, they were inspired and thought, “Is there something we can do?”

Many people of the Prefecture have been encouraged by all the health care related workers who have been working hard every day with a strong sense of duty in the medical setting which is on the front line in the fight against COVID-19. I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude again to the health care related workers as well as the people countering the infectious disease.

I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

While the number of new cases has been showing a downward trend nationwide, highly infectious variant strains are rapidly spreading and the flow of people has been increasing.

Under such circumstances, yesterday, the central government has decided to lift the state of emergency, currently covering 10 prefectures, in nine prefectures as scheduled except for Okinawa Prefecture. It will instead implement priority measures (stronger measures against the spread of infections) in seven of these prefectures, such as Tokyo metropolis, Osaka and other prefectures.

Also, as for the priority measures currently being implemented in five prefectures, they are set to be extended for the three prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, and to be lifted in Gifu and Mie prefectures.

On the other hand, in the Prefecture, residents and business operators have been continuing to cooperate in taking important measures to prevent a rebound of new cases.

Thanks to their efforts, all the indicators, on which the alert levels of for COVID-19 are based, fell below the criteria for Stage 3 on the 14th this month and this situation has been continuing since yesterday.

However, the rate of cases with unknown transmission routes in the past week has been hovering at a high level and there have also been variant strains confirmed in the Prefecture. Due to the possibility of infections spreading rapidly once a cluster occurs, we have to be on alert and take preventative measures.

I would like to ask our residents and business operators to continue cooperating in taking important measures which cover the entire Prefecture without letting their guard down.

First of all, please be thorough in taking basic preventative measures such as wearing a mask, having frequent air ventilation, securing physical distance as well as washing and sanitising your hands.

However, with the coming season, the temperatures will get hotter and it will be more humid. Please be especially careful not to get heat stroke such as by taking off the mask if you are able to secure proper physical distance from other people outside, having adequate hydration, etc.

Next, I would like to ask you to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk of infections. Please refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading as well as checking a variety of information such as the state of infections for the area you are going to.

Please make sure to eat and drink at restaurants with preventative measures in place, with a small number of people for a short time, as well as with people who are usually around you.

If you feel unusual in your physical condition, such as having a sore throat or a cough, please visit a medical institution early. This will be good for yourself, your family and your loved ones.

Next, this is a request to business operators. I ask them to be thorough again in taking preventative measures in line with industry-specific guidelines as well as reducing the opportunities of employees to go out by utilising teleworking and teleconferencing.

Currently, the Prefecture is promoting further the system of Fukushima Kansen-boshitaisaku Ninteiten in which the Prefecture issues approval stickers to restaurants with proper preventative measures in place. I ask business operators to participate in this system.

I would like to ask people involved at schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures in learning and club activities which have a high risk of infections.

I would like to also ask medical facilities and facility administrators to review again and thoroughly practice preventative measures.

Regarding the vaccinations for health care related workers, the rate of workers who received the second dose is over 90 percent at this point. We expect this to be finished by the end of June.

Also, regarding the vaccinations for the elderly, the rate of those who received the first dose is over 40 percent and the rate of the second dose is over 10 percent. These rates are ranked high even nationwide.

In order to finish the vaccinations for the elderly by the end of July, the Prefectural Government will continue to exert the utmost effort towards supporting municipalities to smoothly conduct vaccinations by hearing the progress and requests from each municipality.

Thanks to the understanding and cooperation of our residents, the indicators which demonstrate the situation of the medical treatment systems and the status of infections in the Prefecture are showing an improving trend as a whole.

However, just a little lack of seriousness could spread the infections rapidly and lead to the collapse of the medical treatment systems. I ask our residents to be fully aware of this and continue to thoroughly follow the important measures.

Again, if there is a rebound of new cases in the future, we will have to take stronger measures than before. Therefore, let’s prevent a rebound of new cases by having a continued awareness from each and every person.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 11 June, 2021)

First of all, the Fukushima Medical University Hospital received a letter the other day from a person who had been admitted to the hospital and was discharged later safely. It seems that in the letter, the person expressed thanks to the nurses who ensured they could get treatment with ease by always talking to them with a smile and holding the person’s hand when drawing blood, saying “I know you can get nervous”.

Nurses have been working hard day and night like this in offering support to each patient while providing mental care to not only the patients but to their family members as well. I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude again to the nurses as well as health care related workers and people countering the infectious disease.

I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

As the number of new cases as a whole has been showing a downward trend nationwide, the central government has decided to lift the priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) covering three prefectures including Gunma on the scheduled end date of 13 June.

On the other hand, highly infectious variant strains are rapidly spreading and the flow of people has been increasing. In addition, the rate of beds being occupied and the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and accommodation facilities in 10 prefectures under the state of emergency are still at a very high level, which shows that we remain in a difficult situation of COVID-19.

In the Prefecture, residents and business operators have been cooperating in taking important measures since the 1st of this month to prevent a rebound of new cases.

Thanks to their efforts, the indicators, on which the alert levels of for COVID-19 are based, show an improving trend as a whole. However, when you look at the situation in the past few days, the rate of cases with unknown transmission routes in the past week has been hovering at a high level. Therefore, we need to closely watch for the future trends. As there have also been cases of the N501Y variant confirmed in the Prefecture, just a little lack of seriousness could lead to a spread of the variant.

I would like to ask our residents and business operators to continue cooperating in taking important measures which cover the entire Prefecture.

First of all, please be thorough in taking basic preventative measures such as wearing a mask, having frequent air ventilation, securing physical distance as well as washing and sanitising your hands at workplaces.

Also, please make sure to wear a mask as necessary when you go out in your private time or when you talk even with your family members or someone very close to you at home. Additionally, please be thorough in taking basic preventative measures such as having frequent air ventilation as well as washing and sanitising your hands at home.

However, with the coming season, the temperatures will get hotter and it will be more humid. Please be especially careful not to get heat stroke such as by taking off the mask if you are able to secure proper physical distance from other people outside, having adequate hydration, etc.

Next, I would like to ask you to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk of infections. Please refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading. This includes areas where the state of emergency or priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) have been issued.

Please make sure to eat and drink at restaurants with preventative measures in place, with a small number of people for a short time, as well as with people who are usually around you.

Also, the Prefecture will strongly promote further the system of Fukushima Kansen-boshitaisaku Ninteiten in which the Prefecture issues approval stickers to restaurants with proper preventative measures in place.

If you feel unusual in your physical condition, such as having a sore throat or a cough, please visit a medical institution early. This will be good for yourself, your family and your loved ones.

Next, this is a request to business operators. I ask them to be thorough again in taking preventative measures in line with industry-specific guidelines. Also, please reduce the opportunities of employees to go out by utilising teleworking and teleconferencing.

I would like to ask people involved at schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures in learning and club activities which have a high risk of infections.

I would like to also ask medical facilities and facility administrators to review again and thoroughly practice preventative measures.

Vaccinations for the elderly are making progress in the Prefecture and more than 35% of the elderly have received the first dose at this point. Moreover, as of yesterday on the 10th, we were able to foresee the vaccinations for the elderly to be finished by the end of July in all the municipalities in the Prefecture. The Prefectural Government will exert the utmost effort to support vaccinations in the municipalities.

New efforts to get vaccinations at workplaces have already started. Many business establishments and universities have applied for or considering to apply in administering vaccines.

Thanks to the understanding and cooperation of our residents, the indicators which demonstrate the situation of the medical treatment systems and the status of infections in the Prefecture are showing an improving trend as a whole.

However, just a little lack of seriousness could spread the infections rapidly and lead to the collapse of the medical treatment systems. I ask our residents to be fully aware of this and continue to thoroughly follow the important measures.

Again, if there is a rebound of new cases in the future, we will have to take stronger measures than before. Therefore, let’s prevent a rebound of new cases by having a continued awareness from each and every person.

 

­­Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 4 June, 2021)

The number of new cases as a whole has been showing a downward trend nationwide. On the other hand, in some areas, the number of new cases has stopped declining or has been showing an upward trend.

Also, highly infectious variant strains are rapidly spreading and the number of severely ill patients as well as the number of deaths have remained high, which shows that we remain in a difficult situation of COVID-19.

As for the state of infections in the Prefecture, thanks to the understanding and cooperation of residents and business operators, Fukushima Prefectural Government lifted the prefectural state of emergency on 31 May as scheduled. In order to prevent a rebound of new cases, we have asked our residents to take important measures from 1 June.

As a result of this, within the seven categories of the five indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, the rate of beds being occupied was 32.1 percent as of yesterday and the rate of beds reserved for severely ill patients was 20.4 percent. Although both are at the Stage 3 level, they are showing a downward trend. Other categories are also being maintained at the Stage 2 level.

On the other hand, in Aizuwakamatsu City, where the number of new cases has stopped declining, we asked the residents and business operators to take concentrated measures which focus on refraining from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons, and shortening business hours from 1 June.

With the understanding and cooperation of the residents in Aizuwakamatsu City, both the rate of positive results from PCR tests per 100,000 people and the rate of beds being occupied in the Aizu/Minami-Aizu medical care areas in the past week have entered the Stage 3 level, showing a further improving trend.

Today, the Mayor of Aizuwakamatsu City told me, “Although we remain in a serious situation, I will not be requesting the continuation of the concentrated measures. In addition to the number of new cases involved with restaurants is decreasing, our city intends to take its own preventative measures.”

Following the city’s intentions, Fukushima Prefectural Government will end the concentrated measures implemented in Aizuwakamatsu City on 7 June, as we consider comprehensively that the indicators, on which alert levels for COVID-19 are based, have been improving gradually in the city and that the indicator which shows the rate of beds being occupied in the entire prefecture is showing an improving trend as well. We also consider comprehensively that the wide-area coordination in accepting patients is being dealt well.

These measures have caused residents and business operators of Aizuwakamatsu City serious trouble and inconvenience for a long period of time of more than a month. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one for your understanding and cooperation during this period. Also, I would like to express my sincere gratitude again to the many healthcare related workers who are cooperating in acceptance patients or securing beds.

I would like to ask again all the residents of the Prefecture including Aizuwakamatsu City to take important measures from the 8th. In the important measures, in order to steadily contain infections and prevent a rebound of new cases, I would like to ask you again to cooperate in thoroughly taking basic preventative measures.

Please be thorough in always wearing a mask, having frequent air ventilation, securing physical distance as well as washing and sanitising your hands at workplaces. In addition to these measures, please make sure to wear a mask as necessary when you go out in your private time or when you talk even with your family members or someone very close to you at home. I would like to ask each and every one to review again and thoroughly practice basic preventative measures.

Also, I would like to ask you to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk of infections. Please refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading. This includes areas where the state of emergency or priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) have been issued.

Please make sure to eat and drink at restaurants with preventative measures in place, with a small number of people for a short time, as well as with people who are usually around you.

Also, the Prefecture will strongly promote further the system of Fukushima Kansen-boshitaisaku Ninteiten in which the Prefecture issues approval stickers to restaurants with proper preventative measures in place.

If you feel unusual in your physical condition, such as having a sore throat or a cough, please visit a medical institution early. This will be good for yourself, your family and your loved ones.

Next, this is a request to business operators. I ask them to be thorough again in taking preventative measures in line with industry-specific guidelines. Also, please reduce the opportunities of employees to go out by utilising teleworking and teleconferencing.

I would like to ask people involved at schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures in learning and club activities which have a high risk of infections.

I would like to ask medical facilities and facility administrators to review again and thoroughly practice preventative measures.

These measures have caused residents of the Prefecture as well as people in Aizuwakamatsu City inconvenience and burden. While although they continue to be  patient and show hard work, they are understanding and cooperating in taking the measures.

Thanks to the people’s efforts, I believe the indicators which show the state of the medical treatment systems and infections in the Prefecture demonstrate that we have gotten out of the most critical situation. However, as I have told you repeatedly, there are some indicators which show that we still remain in a serious situation. We have not yet completely returned to ordinary times.

As variant strains are showing an upward trend even in the Prefecture, if we let our guard down, that could quickly lead to a rebound of new cases.

Under such circumstances, a newspaper company in the Prefecture created the section “Messages of gratitude and support to health care related workers” which was published yesterday in the newspaper.

One of the messages says, “I have nothing but gratitude for your hard work. It is my goal to try and make an effort not to meet you.”

Like this message, in order to protect the lives and health of yourself and your loved ones, and medical treatment systems, let’s continue to come together as one and take important measures by being strongly determined to never cause a rebound of new cases.

The rate of beds being occupied is still at the Stage 3 level and there have been many variant strains and cases with unknown transmission routes confirmed in the Prefecture.

Amid such circumstances, regarding vaccinations in the Prefecture, we have been making smooth progress as we expect health care related workers will finish their vaccinations by the end of June. Also, about the vaccinations for the elderly, over 20 percent of them have received the first dose at this point. The Prefectural Government is making it a top priority to secure health care related workers in order to finish vaccinations for the elderly by the end of July. We will continue to exert the utmost effort.

Thanks to our residents and business operators who have been following the important measures and other actions, the state of infections in the Prefecture has been showing an improving trend.

However, just a little lack of seriousness could spread the infections rapidly and lead to the collapse of the medical treatment systems. I ask our residents to be fully aware of this and continue to cooperate in taking measures.

Again, if there is a rebound of new cases in the future, we will have to take stronger measures than before. Therefore, let’s prevent a rebound of new cases by having a continued awareness from each and every person.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 28 May, 2021)

The number of new cases as a whole has been showing a downward trend nationwide. On the other hand, in some areas, the number of new cases has stopped declining or has been showing an upward trend. Some local governments have even issued their own state of emergency.

In addition, the central government is expected to make its decision today to extend the state of emergency covering nine prefectures past the current 31 May deadline. Also, highly infectious variant strains are rapidly spreading and the number of severely ill patients has hit a record high, which shows that we remain in a difficult situation of COVID-19.

As for the state of infections in the Prefecture, since the beginning of this month, the number of new cases has been increasing at a pace faster than ever before due to variant strains and other reasons. Especially in Aizuwakamatsu City and Iwaki City, where infections were noticeably spreading, concentrated measures have been implemented from the 3rd and 13th respectively.

Moreover, in order to stop infections from spreading to the entire Prefecture, we started implementing the “Emergency special measures” on the 8th. However, even with these measures, the spread of infections remained unstoppable. We fell into a serious and unprecedented situation where even if a new case was confirmed, finding a hospital to accept the patient was difficult.

Under these circumstances, I declared a prefectural state of emergency which covers the entire Prefecture on the 14th and new “Emergency special measures” were taken.

During this period, we had the understanding and cooperation of residents and business operators. As a result, among the indicators on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, the rate of beds being occupied was 49.2 percent as of yesterday, dropping to Stage 3, from 90.6 percent when the prefectural state of emergency was declared. Also, the rate of beds reserved for severely ill patients, which at one point exceeded the criterion for Stage 4, is now at the Stage 3 level. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and accommodation facilities per 100,000 people as well as the rate of positive results from PCR tests per 100,000 people in the past week have returned to Stage 2 level.

As we consider comprehensively how the situation has changed and the number of new cases is moving to a downward trend, we have determined the situation of infections in the Prefecture has improved to correspond to Stage 2. Since the burden of medical treatment systems has been reduced, we will end the period of the prefectural state of emergency on 31 May as scheduled.

These emergency measures have caused our residents and business operators serious trouble and inconvenience. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one for your understanding and cooperation during this period.

Also, I would like to express my sincere gratitude again to the many healthcare related workers who are cooperating in accepting patients or securing beds.

 

(Important measures going forward)

Although the indicators, on which the alert levels of for COVID-19 are based, have been gradually improving, infections from variant strains have been increasingly replacing those from the original virus. As there is a fear of a rapid spread of infections again, it is important to continue to prevent the spread of infections again and lower this current level.

In order to steadily contain infections and prevent a rebound of new cases, we will be implementing important measures for a month, from 1 June to 30 June, after the period of the emergency special measures ends.

First, this is a request to our residents. I would like to ask you again to cooperate in thoroughly taking basic preventative measures,

As for the preventative measures, please be thorough in always wearing a mask, having frequent air ventilation, securing physical distance as well as washing and sanitising your hands at workplaces. In addition to these measures, please make sure to wear a mask as necessary when you go out in your private time or when you talk even with your family members or someone very close to you at home. I would like to ask each and every one to review again and thoroughly practice basic preventative measures.

Also, I would like to ask you to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk of infections. Please refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading. This includes areas where the state of emergency or priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) have been issued. There have been cases of infections recently reported from eating and drinking with many people. Please make sure again to eat and drink at restaurants with preventative measures in place, with a small number of people for a short time, as well as with people who are usually around you.

Additionally, if you feel unusual in your physical condition, such as having a sore throat or a cough, please visit a medical institution early. There have been cases where people forced themselves to go to work even though they had such symptoms and ended up transmitting the virus to their coworkers. As well, there have been cases where people let their guard down just because their symptoms were mild and spread the virus to many others. If you have symptoms, getting a diagnosis early will be good for yourself, your family and your loved ones.

Next, this is a request to business operators. I ask them to be thorough again in taking preventative measures in line with industry-specific guidelines. Also, please reduce the opportunities of employees to go out by utilising teleworking and teleconferencing

I would like to ask people involved at schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures in learning and club activities which have a high risk of infections.

I would like to ask medical facilities and facility administrators to review again and thoroughly practice preventative measures.

 

(Concentrated measures for COVID-19 in Aizuwakamatsu City)

Also, in Aizuwakamatsu City where infections were spreading rapidly since late April, thanks to the implementation of the concentrated measures from 3 May, infections have passed the peak. However, the number of new cases in the past week per 100,000 people is hovering over 30 which exceeds the criterion for Stage 4. Moreover, the situation has repeatedly required wide-area coordination in accepting patients, which shows that the bed capacity in the city remains extremely strained.

In addition, the number of people who were confirmed positive has stopped declining in the past few days. If the requests of having restaurants shorten business hours and having residents refrain from going out are lifted at this time, there is again a fear of a rebound of new cases caused by having meals.

Considering these circumstances, following the request from the Mayor of Aizuwakamatsu City, the Prefecture has decided to implement the concentrated measures again covering the entire area of the city.

First, this is a request to residents of Aizuwakamatsu City. Please refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons for one week from 1 June to 7 June.

Especially, social gatherings and meetings which involve drinking and eating will increase the risk of infections. I ask you to refrain from using restaurants that do not follow the request of shortening business hours, as well as restaurants and other such places without thorough preventative measures in place.

Next, this is a request to business operators. I ask restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places in the entire area of the city to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the period from 1 June to 8 June.

Eating and drinking, meetings and social gatherings involving alcohol consumption increase the risk of infections. Therefore, I ask business operators to stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m. and be thorough again in taking preventative measures in line with industry-specific guidelines.

We will provide a “cash payment for the cooperation in preventing the spread of COVID-19” to businesses which cooperate with the request, in accordance with its sales.

Although these requests may cause you trouble, I would like to ask you again for your understanding and cooperation.

I would like to ask people involved at schools to cancel learning activities and overnight school events which have a high risk of infections.

I would like to sincerely ask each and every person to understand and cooperate in order to guarantee results from their efforts up to this point as well as to protect the lives and health of people and the medical treatment systems.

Variant strains are also rapidly spreading in the Prefecture. If there is a rebound of new cases in the future, we will have to take stronger measures than before to completely contain the infections as quickly as possible. Without letting our guard down, let’s prevent a rebound of new cases with the continued awareness from each and every person.

Even though the rate of beds being occupied, which had exceeded the criterion for Stage 4 temporarily, significantly dropped, it is still hovering at a high level. There have also been many variant strains and cases with unknown transmission routes confirmed in the Prefecture.

Amid such circumstances, regarding vaccinations in the Prefecture, we have been making smooth progress as nearly 90 percent of health care related workers have received the first dose at this point. We expect the second round to be finished in June.

About the vaccinations for the elderly, although it has started in almost all municipalities, there has been an issue of securing health care related workers as we move forward with the vaccination plan. Therefore, the Prefectural Government will exert the utmost effort so that the vaccinations will be carried out smoothly in municipalities while receiving cooperation from Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima Medical Association, Fukushima Prefecture Pharmacist Association as well as Fukushima Nursing Association. Also, we will further coordinate with them in order to secure health care related workers.

Thanks to our residents and business operators who have been following the emergency special measures, the state of infections in the Prefecture has improved significantly.

However, just a little lack of seriousness could spread the infections rapidly and lead to the collapse of the medical treatment systems. I ask our residents to be fully aware of this and continue to thoroughly follow the emergency special measures until 31 May. From 1 June, please cooperate in following the important measures, and for residents of Aizuwakamatsu City, please also cooperate in following the concentrated measures.

Again, if there is a rebound of new cases in the future, we will have to take stronger measures than before. Therefore, let’s prevent a rebound of new cases by having a continued awareness from each and every person.

 

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Thursday, 20 May, 2021)

Highly infectious variant strains are rapidly spreading nationwide. Gifu and Okinawa prefectures requested the central government to add their prefectures to the list of areas which have been subjected to the state of emergency, and also Ibaraki Prefecture requested to be subjected to the priority measures to prevent the spread of diseases (stronger measures against the spread of infections).

In addition, the number of severely ill patients are continuing to hit record highs, which shows that we remain in a difficult situation of COVID-19.

The number of new cases in the Prefecture in May has surpassed 950 and was confirmed in 33 municipalities up until yesterday, due to the effect of variant strains and other reasons. It is increasing much faster than the pace of April, when the cumulative number of infections hit a monthly record high of 888.

Within the seven categories of the five indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, the rate of beds being occupied was 76.1 percent as of yesterday, which is largely surpassing the criterion for Stage 4. The rate of beds reserved for severely ill patients and the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and accommodation facilities per 100,000 people are surpassing the criterion for Stage 3. This shows that we remain in a serious situation.

Therefore, I declared a prefectural state of emergency which covers the entire Prefecture on the 14th last week. In the “Emergency special measures”, I have requested our residents to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons, and business operators to shorten business hours. A week has passed since then.

I have received reports from each region that efforts are actively being taken to prevent the spread of infections in the entire Prefecture with the great hard work and cooperation of the residents of the Prefecture.

We cannot judge whether the situation is largely improving as only one week has passed since the implementation. However, in Aizuwakamatsu City, where the request of shortening business hours was implemented ahead of other cities from 3 May, the average number of new daily cases in the past week was 17 as of 3 May, when the request was implemented. Yet, the average number of new daily cases was 8 as of yesterday, which acknowledges a downward trend.

I ask our residents to continue refraining from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons as well as refraining from using restaurants that do not follow the request of shortening business hours and restaurants without thorough preventative measures in place in accordance with the “Emergency special measures” until the end of this month.

Also, I ask restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. as well as to stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m.

In addition, I ask all business operators to make an effort such as following industry- specific guidelines and reducing the opportunities of employees to go out by utilising teleworking and teleconferencing.

I would like to ask people involved at schools to cancel learning activities and overnight school events which have a high risk of infections.

I would like to ask medical facilities and facility administrators to review again and thoroughly practice preventative measures.

I would like to ask our residents to understand and cooperate in having a heightened sense of awareness that we remain in a state of emergency in the Prefecture and to thoroughly take preventative measures in order to protect your own life and those of your loved ones.

The rate of beds being occupied is hovering at a high level, and there have been many variant strains and cases with unknown transmission routes confirmed in the Prefecture.

Also, with the specific cases of infections confirmed recently, there have been cases where infections first occurred at restaurants then spread, as well as infections which spread from outdoor leisure activities such as having barbecues and playing golf.

I would like to ask our residents to refer to these cases and review the actions of each and every person.

Next, this is the vaccination status in the Prefecture. Regarding the vaccinations for health care related workers, we have been making smooth progress and about 80 percent of health care related workers have received the first dose at this point. We expect this to be finished by the end of this month and have the second round be finished in June.

About the vaccinations for the elderly, although we have started them in over 90 percent of municipalities, there is an issue of securing health care related workers as we move forward with the vaccination plan. Therefore, the Prefectural Government will exert the utmost effort so that the vaccinations will be carried out smoothly in municipalities while receiving cooperation from Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima Medical Association as well as medical associations in counties and cities.

While our residents and business operators have been following the emergency special measures which are implemented until the end of this month, just a little lack of seriousness could spread the infections rapidly and lead to the collapse of the medical treatment systems.

In order to definitely prevent the spread of infections, I strongly ask you to cooperate in following the emergency special measures, while again having a heightened sense of awareness that medical treatment systems in the Prefecture remain in a difficult situation.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 14 May, 2021)

Highly infectious variant strains are rapidly spreading nationwide and the number of daily new cases surpassed 7,000 on the 12th for the first time in about four months. Daily new cases have hit record highs in areas under the state of emergency as well as in areas not subject to the state of emergency. The fourth wave of infections is raging nationwide and the number of severely ill patients has also hit a record high. In response to this situation, the central government has issued today a state of emergency for Hokkaido, Okayama, and Hiroshima prefectures. It has also decided to add Gunma, Ishikawa, and Kumamoto prefectures to the list of areas under priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections).

As for the state of infections in the Prefecture, the spread of infections is unstoppable in Aizuwakamatsu City and Iwaki City which have been subject to concentrated measures. Cases have also been confirmed in the neighbouring areas of Aizuwakamatsu City. The number of cases has been increasing mainly in cities but in other areas as well with cases being confirmed in 30 municipalities in the Prefecture this month up until yesterday.

The number of new cases has exceeded 740 in the past 13 days partly due to the effect of variant strains and on the 11th, a daily record high of 95 cases were confirmed. There have still been many cases confirmed where infections first occurred in situations involving eating and drinking at restaurants and community gatherings, then spread at homes and workplaces through secondary and tertiary transmission. Also, there have still been many cases with unknown transmission routes confirmed.

The number of beds which are immediately available has reached 456 now thanks to the extraordinary efforts of health care related workers in the Prefecture. While more available beds are being secured, these medical facilities are in a difficult situation which is affecting routine medical care such as planned operations and admissions being put off.

Moreover, infections have been recently spreading faster than the pace of securing beds. The rate of beds being occupied was 86.8 percent as of yesterday. Now, even if a new case is confirmed, finding a hospital to accept the patient is difficult, which shows we are in a situation where bed capacity is extremely strained. With routine medical care being strained, we are in a serious situation where people’s lives that could be saved may not be saved.

We are in a situation where residents need to be keenly aware of this crisis situation and take stronger measures than before to reduce the flow of people in the entire Prefecture as well as reduce the risk of infections in various occasions including eating and drinking.

Under these circumstances, the Prefectural Government is declaring its own prefectural state of emergency to stop the rapid spread of infections and to prevent the medical treatment systems from collapsing. Following this decision, we will expand and strengthen the emergency special measures which cover the entire Prefecture from 15th tomorrow until 31 May.

First, this is a request to our residents. Please refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons. Especially, social gatherings and meetings which involve drinking and eating will increase the risk of infections. I ask you to refrain from using restaurants that do not follow the request of shortening business hours and restaurants and other such places without thorough preventative measures in place.

Next, this is a request to business operators. I ask restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places in the entire Prefecture to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the period from 15 May to 1 June.

Eating and drinking, meetings and social gatherings involving alcohol consumption increase the risk of infections. Therefore, I ask business operators to stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m. and be thorough again in taking preventative measures in line with industry-specific guidelines.

We will provide a “cash payment for the cooperation in preventing the spread of COVID-19” to businesses which cooperate with the request, in accordance with its sales. We will also be providing cash payments to businesses which will start cooperating today.

Other businesses are expected to be impacted by the requests of having restaurants shorten business hours and having residents refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons. Therefore, we will be providing a temporary financial relief fund to small to mid-sized companies whose sales have decreased. Although these requests may cause you trouble, I would like to ask you again to continue your cooperation.

I would like to ask people involved at schools to cancel learning activities and overnight school events which have a high risk of infections.

I would like to ask medical facilities and facility administrators again to review and thoroughly practice preventative measures.

We are now in a crucial stage of protecting our own life and those of our loved ones. Let’s overcome this crisis situation by being thorough in taking these two actions of reducing the flow of people and reducing the risk of infections when eating and drinking.

I would like to ask for your understanding and cooperation.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Tuesday, 11 May, 2021)

(Request to cooperate in preventing the spread of infections in Iwaki City)

Since the beginning of April, two large clusters have occurred at a university and an after-school child-care service facility in Iwaki City. As a result, the number of new cases in the past week per 100,000 people, which is one of the indicators the alert levels for COVID-19 are based on, exceeded temporarily the criteria for Stage 4. Even after that, the situation has remained over the Stage 3 level for more than one month until today.

Also, 26 out of the 66 people who confirmed positive in the past week took the tests for the first time after developing symptoms, making up about 40 percent of the new cases. This shows that infections are likely spreading through the city at a high rate. In addition, although we are still confirming the details, 21 new cases have been confirmed so far this morning. Under these circumstances, the Mayor of Iwaki City requested the Prefecture to take stricter preventative measures to contain the spread of infections in the city.

Therefore, the Prefecture has also decided that there is a need to swiftly implement necessary measures. I would like to make three requests to the residents and business operators in the whole area of Iwaki City based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases.

First, this is a request to people in Iwaki City. From 13 May to 31 May, I ask people to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons.

Second, this is a request to restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places in Iwaki City. I ask them to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the period from 13 May to 1 June. We will provide a “cash payment for the cooperation in preventing the spread of COVID-19” to businesses which cooperate with the request, in accordance with its sales. Businesses which have started cooperating from today to 13 May will also be provided the cash payment.

Third, this is a request to universities and schools. I ask the administrators of universities and specialized training colleges to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Please remind students to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk of infections such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken, and attending social gatherings with many people. Also, I ask the administrators of elementary, junior and senior high schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures such as cancelling learning activities which have a high risk of infections, as well as cancelling practices or practice games with other schools.

As of right now, the people in Iwaki City are in a crucial situation to prevent the spread of infections in the city. After being aware of the state of infections and how the situation of the medical treatment systems is extremely serious, they need to take action.

Although these measures may cause you trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask you to cooperate while understanding the purpose of the request.

I would like to ask our residents and business operators in the Prefecture to continue having a heightened sense of awareness and not to let their guard down, and make sure that each and every person takes preventative measures for themselves, their loved ones and to protect the medical treatment systems.

(An urgent message from the Governor for the period of the Emergency special measures)

Since the beginning of this month, over 500 new cases have been confirmed in the Prefecture for 10 days. As a result, the number of confirmed cases has been increasing at a pace faster than last month’s monthly record high.

Therefore, the bed capacity is strained throughout the Prefecture, as the rate of beds being occupied was 82.9 percent as of yesterday. We are in a critical situation as not only hospitals but also accommodation facilities are stretched to their limits in accepting patients.

Currently, we are implementing our own concentrated measures in Aizuwakamatsu City, where infections are spreading rapidly. However, today we have newly added Iwaki City, where the number of cases has remained high, to the subjected areas. In order to contain further spread of infections, I would like to once again make the following requests to the people of the Prefecture.

Please refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons to and from outside of the Prefecture.

Please refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas in the Prefecture where infections have been greatly spreading.

When eating and drinking, be thorough in taking preventative measures, and do so with a small number of people for a short time, as well as with people who are usually around you.

The actions of each and every person will greatly impact the status of infections in the future. I would like to ask you to cooperate in order to protect your own life and those of your loved ones.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 7 May, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, health care related workers as well as people countering the infectious disease. Doctors, in particular, have been making utmost effort in treating patients while facing various struggles and tensions everyday such as trying to limit contact with their beloved family members as much as possible. Also, in response to the increase of patients, medical facilities in the Prefecture, including not only local core hospitals but also neighboring hospitals, have been cooperating to secure beds which are immediately available. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to those working at these medical facilities.

I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in the preventative measures.

Since the beginning of this month, the number of daily new cases is still hovering around 5,000. In response to this, the state of emergency in Tokyo metropolis, Osaka and other prefectures, as well as priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) in the three neighbouring prefectures of the Tokyo metropolitan area have been implemented until 11 May and they are set to be extended. A state of emergency is anticipated to be issued for Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures as well. The situation is getting more serious hour by hour.

Amid such circumstances, the number of new cases last month in the Prefecture hit a monthly record high of 887 and a new daily case record was set yesterday with 71 infections. More than 300 new cases have already been confirmed in the past six days and the number of infections is increasing much faster than the pace of April.

Also, there have been cases where infections first occurred in situations involving eating and drinking at restaurants and community gatherings, then spread at homes and workplaces through secondary and tertiary transmission. Also, there have still been many cases with unknown transmission routes confirmed. Variant strains which are said to cause severe symptoms in young people and spread quickly have also been confirmed.

As a result, the bed capacity is strained throughout the Prefecture. The rate of beds being occupied was 72.7 percent as of yesterday, a level exceeding 70 percent. Especially in Aizuwakamatsu City, where the number of new cases has been increasing rapidly, not only hospitals but also accommodation facilities are stretched to their limits in accepting patients. Now, patients are being accepted in a wider area. Currently, five of the indicators, demonstrating the rate of beds being occupied; the usage rate of beds reserved for severely ill patients; the number of patients in hospitals and accommodation facilities per 100,000 people; the rate of positive results from PCR tests; and the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the past week, have exceeded the Stage 3 level. The situation of infections in the Prefecture has been slipped into unknown territory; thus, we have determined that the Prefecture has entered Stage 3.

If this situation continues, even routine medical care will be strained and people’s lives that could be saved may not be saved. In order to contain further spread of infections, we need to reduce the flow of people in the Aizu Region as well as in the entire Prefecture. Therefore, we have to take even stronger measures than before.

Considering these circumstances, at a meeting of the task force the other day, the Prefectural Government has decided to implement “Concentrated measures for COVID-19” for Aizuwakamatsu City. I request our residents to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons, and restaurants with hospitality services and restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places to shorten business hours from 3 May to 16 May. However, as infections have continued spreading, I started having talks with the central government yesterday in allowing Aizuwakamatsu City to be subjected to the priority measures preventing the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) which is based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response.

In addition, the Prefectural Government has decided to implement “Emergency special measures” from 8 May tomorrow until the end of this month for the entire Prefecture including Aizuwakamatsu City under the slogan of “In May, protect your own life and those of your loved ones”.

This is a request to our residents. It is necessary to reduce the flow of people in order to prevent the spread of infections. I would like to ask you to refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading elsewhere as well as to and from outside of the Prefecture. Also, I ask you again to refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas in the Prefecture where infections have been greatly spreading. Moreover, in order to reduce the risk of infections when eating and drinking, I ask you to be thorough in taking preventative measures, and do so with a small number of people for a short time, as well as with people who are usually around you.

Next, this is a request to the facility administrators and business operators. I ask administrators of medical facilities and facilities for the elderly and facilities for people with disabilities to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures and check with themselves if those measures are properly being taken by using a check list. Additionally, as PCR tests will be conducted for workers at facilities in areas where infections have been spreading, please ensure that they take the tests.

For universities and specialized training colleges, I ask them to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Please remind students to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk for infections such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken. Also, for elementary, junior and senior high schools, I ask them to be thorough in taking preventative measures such as refraining from having learning activities and overnight school events which have a high risk of infections.

I would like to ask restaurants to be thorough in taking preventative measures in line with industry-specific guidelines. Also, I ask businesses to reduce the opportunities of employees to go out by utilising teleworking and teleconferencing.

Lastly, I would like to ask residents of the Aizu Region, which is under the concentrated measures  based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response until the 16th this month, to continue refraining from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons. Also, I ask restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places in Aizuwakamatsu City to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day.

Although, this may cause our residents and business operators trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask you to cooperate in following the emergency special measures to prevent further spread of infections.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Saturday, 1 May, 2021)

In Aizuwakamatsu City, new cases involving eating and drinking at restaurants and at community gatherings have been confirmed one after another. There have also been more than 10 new cases confirmed five days in a row and 82 new cases confirmed in a week as of yesterday on 30 April.

In addition, the rapid spread of infections in recent days has required a wide-area coordination in accepting patients. This shows that we are in a serious situation which is putting a significant burden on the medical treatment systems in the Prefecture.

Under these circumstances, the Mayor of Aizuwakamatsu City requested the Prefecture to take stricter preventative measures to contain the spread of infections in the city. Amid the strained bed capacity not only in the Aizu Region but all throughout the Prefecture, if new clusters of infections should occur now due to travelling between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading, or due to eating and drinking or having dinners with many people, it could lead to a larger explosive spread of the virus and the medical treatment systems could fall into crisis.

Therefore, the Prefecture has also decided that there is a need to swiftly implement necessary measures. I would like to make three requests to the residents and business operators in the whole area of Aizuwakamatsu City based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases.

First, this is a request to people in Aizuwakamatsu City. From 3 May to 16 May, I ask people to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons. Also, please refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading. This includes travelling and returning home  to and from areas where the state of emergency or priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) have been issued. In addition, as for this request, I would like to ask not only the people in Aizuwakamatsu City but also people throughout the Aizu Region to cooperate with these measures to prevent the spread of infections and reduce the burden of medical treatment systems.

Second, I ask restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places in Aizuwakamatsu City to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the period from 3 May to 16 May. We will provide a “cash payment for the cooperation in preventing the spread of COVID-19” to businesses which cooperate with the request, in accordance with its sales. Businesses cooperating today and on 2 May will also be provided the cash payments.

Third, this is a request to universities and schools. During the period of 3 May to 16 May, I ask the administrators of universities and specialized training colleges to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Please remind students to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk of infections such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken and attending social gatherings with many people. Also, I ask the administrators of elementary, junior and senior high schools to be thorough in taking preventative measures such as cancelling learning activities which have a high risk of infections as well as cancelling practices and practice games with other schools.

As of right now, people in Aizuwakamatsu City are in a crucial situation to prevent the spread of infections in the city. After being aware of the state of infections and how the situation of the medical treatment systems is extremely serious, people in Aizuwakamatsu City need to take action.

Although these measures may cause you trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask you to cooperate while understanding the purpose of the requests.

I would like to ask our residents and business operators in the Prefecture to continue having a heightened sense of awareness and not to let their guard down, and make sure that each and every person takes preventative measures for themselves, their loved ones and to protect medical treatment systems.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 30 April, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the clinical laboratory technologists, the doctors, nurses as well as health care related workers and people countering the infectious disease. Ever since March of last year, when the first case was confirmed in the Prefecture, they have been working hard day and night to ensure the safety and security of residents. Clinical laboratory technologists, in particular, have been making utmost effort in handling as many as thousands of samples and PCR tests every day, and have been paying close attention to the maintenance and quality control of testing equipment to get accurate test results.

I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

Since mid-April, more than 5,000 daily new cases have been confirmed nationwide for several days. In addition, a third state of emergency was issued for Tokyo metropolis, Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo prefectures on the 25th, and priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) have been extended for Miyagi and other prefectures until 11 May. This shows that we remain in a serious situation.

As for the state of infections in the Prefecture, the number of new cases confirmed in April was 852 in 30 municipalities as of yesterday on 29 April. The number of infections is increasing faster than the pace of January. Also, there were 49 new cases confirmed yesterday, surpassing 40 cases for three days straight for the first time. Moreover, a monthly record of 17 clusters of infections have occurred at places including facilities for the elderly, a university, schools, and business establishments. In the past few days, in particular, there have been cases where infections first occurred in situations involving eating and drinking at restaurants and community gatherings, then spread at homes and workplaces through secondary and tertiary transmission. Also, there have still been many cases with unknown transmission routes confirmed.

As a result, the rate of beds being occupied was 58.6 percent as of yesterday in the Prefecture. The rapid spread of infections is putting a growing strain on bed capacity throughout the Prefecture. Especially in Aizuwakamatsu City, a rapid increase of new cases coming from some restaurants in the past few days has required a wide-area coordination in accepting patients. Therefore, we are in a more serious situation which puts a significant burden on the medical treatment systems in the Prefecture. The Fukushima Prefectural Government will immediately have talks with Aizuwakamatsu City and implement specific measures to prevent the spread of infections.

While under these circumstances, the Golden Week Holidays will begin in earnest tomorrow. I would like to ask again our residents and business operators in the Prefecture to have a heightened sense of awareness and not to let their guard down, and make sure that each and every person takes preventative measures for themselves, their loved ones and to protect medical treatment systems.

Considering the current state of infections in the Prefecture, I would like to ask everyone in the Prefecture as well as business operators to take the following three actions.

First, I ask you to act prudently while thoroughly keeping in mind the infection status in your area and the “5 situations” that have an increased risk for infections. Especially for residents and business operators in Aizuwakamatsu City, where the number of cases has been significantly increasing in the past few days, I would like to ask them to act while having a heightened sense of awareness in order to prevent the further spread of infections. In Iwaki City which has announced that the bed capacity is strained, I would like to ask the people to be thorough in acting collectively to prevent the spread of infections such as continuing to refrain from going out.

Second, this is a request to people involved at schools. Since the new school year has started, infections have been spreading among young people including students attending elementary, junior high, high schools and colleges. At universities and specialized training colleges, in-person classes and club activities are being fully carried out. However, I ask the school administrators again to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Also, for elementary, junior and senior high schools, I would like to ask them to be thorough in the preventative measures for school activities and club activities.

Third, this is about the variant strains. The central government’s analysis shows that variant strains are likely to be more infectious than the original virus. New cases of the variants are trending upward in the Kanto and Kansai regions and other areas, and these cases have also been confirmed in Fukushima Prefecture. Even though the basic preventative measures against variant strains are the same as they have been up until now, I would like to ask you to make further efforts to take preventative measures thoroughly such as wearing a mask and sanitising your hands.

During the Golden Week Holidays, there are concerns for an increased risk of infections as there will be more people who will actively travel to and from places. If new clusters of infections should occur now due to travelling between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading, or due to eating and drinking or having dinners with many people, it could lead to a larger explosive spread of the virus and the medical treatment systems could fall into crisis.

Although, this may cause our residents and business operators trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask you to continue cooperating in refraining from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading while understanding the serious situation in the Prefecture.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Thursday, 22 April, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the public health nurses as well as health care related workers and people countering the infectious disease. Ever since March of last year, when the first case was confirmed in the Prefecture, they have been offering support to each patient while public health nurses, in particular, have been exerting the utmost effort in conducting tests every day, coordinating patients to medical facilities and supporting patients who are recuperating at home.

I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

The number of new cases nationwide surpassed 5,000 as of yesterday on 21 April for the first time since 23 January. As the infections are rapidly spreading in Tokyo metropolis, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures, a third state of emergency is anticipated to be issued for these four prefectures, which shows that we remain in a serious situation.

As for the state of infections in the Prefecture, 13 clusters of infections have occurred at places including facilities for the elderly, a university, schools, and business establishments since the beginning of April. Also, there have still been many cases confirmed where infections are thought to have occurred in situations involving travelling to and from outside of the Prefecture, eating and drinking at restaurants, and club activities along with an increase in cases with unknown transmission routes. In addition, the number of daily new cases hit a record high of 53 on the 8th and infections have been confirmed in wide areas with the cases spreading in 26 municipalities in the Prefecture up until yesterday.

As a result, the rate of beds being occupied was 47.5 percent as of yesterday in the Prefecture. With the Mayor of Iwaki City announcing that the bed capacity is strained, we remain in a serious situation which is putting a significant burden on the medical treatment systems in the Prefecture.

While under these circumstances, the Golden Week Holidays are around the corner. If new clusters of infections should occur now due to travelling between and across areas where infections have been greatly spreading, or due to eating and drinking or having dinners with many people, it could lead to a larger explosive spread of the virus and the medical treatment systems could fall into crisis.

I would like to ask again our residents and business operators in the Prefecture to have a heightened sense of awareness and not to let their guard down, and make sure that each and every person takes preventative measures for themselves, their loved ones and to protect medical treatment systems.

Considering the current state of infections in the Prefecture, I would like to ask everyone in the Prefecture as well as business operators to take the following three actions.

First, I ask you to act prudently while thoroughly keeping in mind the infection status in your area and the “5 situations” that have an increased risk for infections. Especially for people in cities where the number of cases has been significantly increasing such as Iwaki which announced that the bed capacity is strained, I would like to ask them to act while having a heightened sense of awareness in order to prevent the further spread of infections.

Second, this is a request to people involved at schools. Since the new school year has started, infections have been spreading among young people including students attending elementary, junior high, high schools and colleges. At universities and specialized training colleges, in-person classes and club activities are being fully carried out. However, I ask the school administrators again to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Also, for elementary, junior and senior high schools, I would like to ask them to be thorough in the preventative measures for school activities and club activities.

Third, this is about the variant strains. Although variant strains have been confirmed in the Prefecture, I would like to ask you to always take preventative measures thoroughly as the basic preventative measures against variant strains are the same as they have been up until now.

Next, with the Golden Week Holidays coming soon, there are concerns for an increased risk of infections as there will be more people who will actively travel to and from places. Therefore, I would like to ask you to take the following two important actions.

First, this is about returning home or travelling. As infections have been spreading nationwide, in order to thoroughly prevent the spread of infections due to travelling to and from other areas, please refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where the issue of the state of emergency is to be anticipated or priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) have been implemented such as Miyagi prefecture, along with Yamagata prefecture where its own state of emergency has been issued.

Also, for other areas, please carefully assess the necessity of returning home or travelling as well as going to places where many people are gathering. In particular, please strictly refrain from going out when you have symptoms such as a fever. If you are planning to return home, please try to avoid going to places where the risk of infections is high before returning home or having dinners with many people. Please thoroughly take basic preventative measures such as sanitising your hands or wearing a mask to make sure not to transmit the virus to the elderly.

When you have dinners with people, please avoid restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places without thorough preventative measures in place, as well as eating and drinking with many people. I would like to ask you to thoroughly follow the “How to enjoy dining while taking preventative measures to reduce the risk of infections” and to have dinners with family members or a small number of people.

Next, this is about tourism facilities and attractions. I ask business operators and facility administrators to thoroughly take preventative measures such as limiting the number of participants as necessary in order to prevent crowded places as well as having users and participants thoroughly sanitise their hands and wear a mask.

Although, this may cause our residents and business operators trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask you to continue cooperating while understanding the serious situation in the Prefecture.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 16 April, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the nurses as well as health care related workers and people countering the infectious disease. Ever since March of last year, when the first case was confirmed in the Prefecture, they have been offering support to each patient while attending to them around the clock at hospitals and accommodation facilities as well as working hard to provide mental care to not only the patients and but to their family members.

I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

Since the beginning of April, after the state of emergency was lifted, the number of daily new cases nationwide has exceeded 4,500 which is a record high. In Osaka and Hyogo prefectures where priority measures to prevent the spread of disease (stronger measures against the spread of infections) have been implemented, new daily record highs are being hit every day. Also, it is expected that the central government will extend the stronger measures to 10 prefectures from the current six. Infections have continued spreading in specific areas, which shows that we remain in a serious situation.

As for the state of infections in the Prefecture, the number of monthly cases is increasing faster than before as 10 clusters of infections have already occurred at places including facilities for the elderly, a university, schools, and business establishments since the beginning of April. In addition, the number of daily new cases hit a record high of 53 on the 8th and was 47 as of yesterday. Infections have been confirmed in wide areas with the cases spreading in 21 municipalities up until yesterday.

Also, there have still been many cases confirmed where infections are thought to have occurred in situations involving travelling to and from outside of the Prefecture, eating and drinking at restaurants, and club activities along with an increase in cases with unknown transmission routes.

As a result, the rate of beds being occupied was 44.8 percent as of yesterday in the Prefecture. This shows that we are still in a serious situation which is putting a significant burden on the medical treatment systems in the Prefecture.

Under these circumstances, if new clusters of infections should occur now due to eating and drinking or having dinners with many people, it could lead to a larger explosive spread of the virus compared to the one we had during the end of the year and the New Year period.

I would like to ask again our residents and business operators in the Prefecture not to let their guard down, and make sure that each and every person takes preventative measures for themselves, their loved ones and to protect medical treatment systems.

First, I ask you to act prudently while thoroughly keeping in mind the infection status in your area and the “5 situations” that have an increased risk for infections. Especially, I would like to ask people in cities such as Iwaki, where the number of new cases has been significantly increasing, to act while having a strong sense of crisis in order to prevent the further spread of infections. In addition, please avoid restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places without thorough preventative measures in place. Also, please avoid attending social gatherings and meetings which involve drinking and eating with many people.

Furthermore, please refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas where stronger measures against the spread of infections have been implemented, along with Yamagata prefecture where its own state of emergency has been issued.

Especially, with the Golden Week Holidays around the corner, I believe some of you are planning to go travelling or return to your family homes during the holidays. However, I ask you again to refrain from travelling between and across such areas where infections have been greatly spreading.

Next, this is a request to the facility administrators and business operators. I ask administrators of medical facilities and facilities for the elderly, where there is a possibility of infections spreading on a large scale once a cluster occurs, to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures and check with themselves if those measures are properly being taken by using a check list.

At universities and specialized training colleges, which started a new school year, in-person classes and club activities are expected to be fully carried out along with seminars, welcome parties and social gatherings among students. I ask again the school administrators to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Please remind students to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk of infections such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken, travelling to areas where infections have been greatly spreading, and attending social gatherings with many people.

Also, for high schools and other schools, which started a new school year with a new system, I would like to ask them to check again and be thorough in the preventative measures for school activities and club activities.

I would like to ask our residents and business operators in the Prefecture to recognize that basic preventative measures such as consulting and visiting medical institutions early, refraining from going out and going to work or school when feeling unwell, as well as taking preventative measures at meetings will all lead to the prevention of infections.

Although this may cause our residents and business operators trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask you to continue cooperating while understanding the serious situation in the Prefecture.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Thursday, 8 April, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors as well as health care related workers and people countering the infectious disease. Ever since March of last year, when the first case was confirmed in the Prefecture, they have been facing patients directly every day and working hard to carefully treat each patient even with restrictions towards their usual medical practices.

I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

The number of new cases nationwide surpassed 3,000 yesterday, on 7 April, for the first time since 30 January. The signs of a rebound of new cases nationwide are getting clearer as the stronger measures against the spread of infections have been issued in Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi prefectures.

As for the state of infections in the Prefecture, there has been an upward trend of cases, as seven clusters of infections have already occurred at places including facilities for the elderly, a university, schools, and business establishments since the beginning of April. The number of new cases was 45 as of the day before yesterday, on 6 April, and this number comes after 46 cases which was a daily record high.

Also, the recent trend shows that there has been an increase in the number of cases where infections are thought to have occurred in situations involving travelling to and from outside of the Prefecture, eating and drinking at restaurants, and club activities along with an increase in cases with unknown transmission routes.

As a result, the rate of beds being occupied was 54.2 percent as of yesterday in the Prefecture, hovering at a level which has been continuously over 50 percent since the 1st of this month. This shows that we are in a serious situation again which is putting a significant burden on the medical treatment systems in the Prefecture.

Under these circumstances, if new clusters of infections should occur now due to eating and drinking or having dinners with many people, it could lead to a larger explosive spread of the virus compared to the one we had during the end of the year and the New Year period.

I would like to ask again our residents and business operators in the Prefecture not to let their guard down, and make sure that each and every person takes preventative measures for themselves, their loved ones and to protect medical treatment systems.

First, I ask you to act prudently while thoroughly keeping in mind the infection status in your area and the “5 situations” that have an increased risk for infections. Especially, I would like to ask people in cities such as Koriyama, Fukushima and Iwaki, where the number of new cases has been significantly increasing, to act while having a strong sense of crisis in order to prevent the further spread of infections. In addition, please avoid restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places without thorough preventative measures in place. Also, please avoid attending welcome parties and cherry blossom viewing parties which involve drinking and eating with many people.

Furthermore, please refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures in the Kanto region where the state of emergency was lifted and other areas where stronger measures against the spread of infections have been implemented such as Miyagi, Osaka and Hyogo prefectures, along with Yamagata prefecture where its own state of emergency has been issued.

Next, this is a request to the facility administrators and business operators. I ask administrators of medical facilities and facilities for the elderly, where there is a possibility of infections spreading on a large scale once a cluster occurs, to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures and check with themselves if those measures are properly being taken by using a check list.

For universities and specialized training colleges, I ask them to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Please remind students to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk of infections such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken and travelling or returning to areas where infections have been greatly spreading.

Also, for high schools and other schools, which started a new school year with a new system, I would like to ask them to check again and be thorough in the preventative measures for school activities and club activities.

Although this may cause our residents and business operators trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask you to continue cooperating while understanding the serious situation in the Prefecture.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Thursday, 1 April, 2021)

First of all, I would like to once again express my deepest gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

We are in a situation where there is fear of a rebound of new cases nationwide. Infections are rapidly spreading in the Tokyo metropolitan and Kansai areas where there has been an upward trend of new cases. Also, infections have continued to spread in our neighboring prefectures of Miyagi and Yamagata. There have been days where the daily number of new cases nationwide surpassed 2,000 again. 

As for the state of infections in the Prefecture, the number of new cases in March has reached 559, more than two times the cumulative number of February.

As the clusters of infections have passed the peak in the Prefecture, the rate of beds being occupied was 46.9 percent as of yesterday and since the beginning of this week, it has slipped below 50 percent, a criterion for stage 4. On the other hand, infections have spread across the Prefecture as the number of municipalities where new cases have been confirmed reached 32 in March, exceeding the 28 municipalities in February. There has also been an increase in cases with unknown transmission routes. This shows that we are in a serious situation again which is putting a significant burden on the medical treatment systems in the Prefecture. Under these circumstances, if new clusters of infections should occur now due to eating and drinking or having dinners with people, it could lead to a larger explosive spread of the virus compared to the one we had during the end of the year and the New Year period.

We will soon be in the season when the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic hit last year. I would like to ask again everyone in the Prefecture not to let their guard down, and make sure that each and every person takes preventative measures for themselves, their loved ones and to protect the medical treatment systems.

Considering the state of infections in the Prefecture, the Prefectural Government decided at last week’s meeting of the task force to continue implementing measures which focus attention on preventing clusters of infections until 9 May (Sun.), when the Golden Week Holidays finish. Although this may cause once again our residents and business operators trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask for your cooperation.

I ask you to act prudently while thoroughly keeping in mind the infection status in your area and the “5 situations” that have an increased risk for infections. Also, I ask you to refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures in the Kanto region where the state of emergency was lifted. This is also for prefectures of Miyagi, Osaka, and Hyogo where stronger measures against the spread of infections are to be anticipated as well as for Yamagata Prefecture and other places where many cases have been confirmed. In addition, please avoid restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places without thorough preventative measures in place. Also, avoid attending welcome parties and cherry blossom viewing parties which involve drinking and eating with many people.

Next, this is a request to the facility administrators and business operators. I ask administrators of medical facilities, facilities for the elderly as well as facilities for people with disabilities to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures and check with themselves if those measures are properly being taken by using a check list.

For universities and specialized training colleges, I ask them to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Please remind students to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk for infections such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken and travelling or returning to areas where infections have been greatly spreading.

Also, for elementary, junior and senior high schools, and other schools, I would like to ask them to check again and be thorough in the preventative measures for club and other activities even though they are currently in spring break. In addition, I would like restaurants and other such places to continue to be thorough in taking preventative measures based on the guidelines.

More people will travel to and from places from the beginning of the fiscal year to the Golden Week Holidays. I would like to strongly ask everyone in the Prefecture and business operators not to let their guard down, and continue to be thorough in taking preventative measures.

On the other hand, while we are in this situation of living “With Corona” (Coexisting with COVID-19), anyone can become infected with COVID-19. I would like to ask everyone again not to discriminate and slander against healthcare related workers as well as those who are countering infectious diseases and people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members.

I would like to ask you again for your understanding and cooperation.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 26 March, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

We are in a situation where there is fear of a rebound of new cases nationwide. Infections are rapidly spreading not only in the Tokyo metropolitan area where there has been an upward trend of new cases, but also in our neighboring prefectures, Miyagi and Yamagata, where new daily record highs of cases continue as clusters of infections related to eating and drinking have occurred from last weekend to this week. Miyagi Prefecture has issued its own state of emergency on the 18th and Yamagata also did so on the 22nd.

As for the state of infections in the Prefecture, the number of new cases in March has reached 453 as of yesterday on the 25th. The number of infections is increasing faster than the pace of last December, nearly surpassing the cumulative number of that month when the number of cases rapidly increased.

With the increase of new cases, the rate of beds being occupied was 53.7 percent as of yesterday and has surpassed 50 percent, a criterion for stage 4, for 10 days in a row. This shows that we are in a serious situation again which puts a significant burden on the medical treatment systems in the Prefecture. Under these circumstances, if new clusters of infections should occur now due to eating and drinking or having dinners with people, it could lead to a larger explosive spread of the virus compared to the one we had during the end of the year and the New Year period.

We will soon be in the season when the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic hit last year. I would like to ask again everyone in the Prefecture not to let their guard down, and make sure that each and every person takes preventative measures for themselves, their loved ones and to protect the medical treatment systems.

Under these circumstances of infections in the Prefecture, the Prefectural Government will continue implementing measures which focus attention on preventing clusters of infections even after 1 April. The period of these measures will end on 9 May (Sun.), when the Golden Week Holidays finish. Although this may cause once again our residents and business operators trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask for your cooperation.

First, I ask you to act prudently while thoroughly keeping in mind the infection status in your area and the “5 situations” that have an increased risk for infections. Also, I ask you to refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures in the Kanto region where the state of emergency was lifted and other areas where infections have been greatly spreading these past few days such as Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures, where new daily record highs of cases are being hit. In addition, please avoid restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places without through preventative measures in place. Also avoid attending welcome parties and cherry blossom viewing parties which involve drinking and eating with many people.

Next, this is a request to the facility administrators and business operators. I ask administrators of medical facilities, facilities for the elderly as well as facilities for people with disabilities to ensure again that there are no oversights in their preventative measures and check with themselves if those measures are properly being taken by using a check list.

For universities and specialized training colleges, I ask them to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Please remind students to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk for infections such as participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken and travelling or returning to areas where infections have been greatly spreading.

Also, for elementary, junior and senior high schools, and other schools, I would like to ask them to check again and be thorough in the preventative measures for learning activities and club activities. In addition, I would like restaurants and other such places to continue to be thorough in taking preventative measures based on the guidelines.

We are heading towards the end and beginning of the fiscal year, and the Golden Week Holidays with more people travelling to and from places. I would like to strongly ask everyone in the Prefecture and business operators not to let their guard down, and continue to be thorough in taking preventative measures.

Now, we are in a situation in which new cases related to clusters of infections as well as cases not involved with the clusters of infections are being confirmed every day. Also, we have to be cautious of the rapid increase of infections in the neighboring prefectures.

I would like to ask everyone in the Prefecture as well as business operators to thoroughly cooperate in following the “New Lifestyle”, the important measures and in taking preventative measures at events which will be held at the end and beginning of the fiscal year. We must make sure to stop the rebound of new cases.

I would like to ask you again for your understanding and cooperation.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 19 March, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

The number of new cases has stopped declining nationwide and it can be seen that in some prefectures including Tokyo and Miyagi Prefecture, there has been an upward trend. We are also concerned about the rebound of new cases with variant strains having been confirmed in 26 prefectures.

As for the state of infections in the Prefecture, the number of new cases in March has reached 305 as of yesterday on the 18th. This has already surpassed the number of cases in February. New cases related to the clusters of infections which occurred at hospitals have continuously been confirmed along with new cases not involved with the clusters of infections. The rate of cases with unknown transmission routes has also been increasing.

The rate of beds being occupied was 51.2 percent as of yesterday, hovering around 50 percent in the past week, which is a criterion for stage 4. This shows that we are in a serious situation again which puts a significant burden on the medical treatment systems in the Prefecture. Under these circumstances, if new clusters of infections should occur now due to eating and drinking or having dinners with people, it could lead to a larger explosive spread of the virus compared to the one we had during the end of the year and the New Year period.

Therefore, I would like to ask again everyone in the Prefecture to not let their guard down, and make sure that each and every person takes preventative measures for themselves, their loved ones and to protect the medical treatment systems.

In particular, until 31 March, I would like to ask for your continued cooperation in taking the following two actions as part of the important measures which are: “refraining from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures in the Kanto region where the state of emergency is to be lifted and other areas where infections have been greatly spreading” and “avoiding restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places without thorough preventative measures in place”.

Next, this is a request to the facility administrators and business operators. It is deeply important for all the people working at medical facilities and such places to always keep in mind the preventative measures and act accordingly. I ask administrators of those medical facilities again to ensure that there are no oversights in their preventative measures and check themselves if those measures are properly being taken using the check list. I also ask them to check if each employee is thoroughly taking preventative measures. If the people working at the facilities or users of the facilities have even a slight change in their physical condition, they should immediately visit a medical institution.

Around this time from March to April every year, there are more people who actively travel to and from places as events are held for school commencements, enrollments or starting a job. Therefore, I would like to ask everyone in the Prefecture to take the following two actions in addition to the important measures I mentioned earlier.

First, regarding school commencements, enrollment ceremonies and welcome ceremonies for new employees, I ask organisers to consider proper ways of holding the event such as taking preventative measures thoroughly, securing enough space between attendees and making it online. Also, as there have been many cases where infections have spread in situations involving eating and drinking nationwide, I ask residents to refrain from holding farewell and welcome parties, thank-you parties for teachers and cherry blossom viewing parties which involve drinking and eating, especially with many people.

Second, I would like to talk about travel which include graduation trips. The state of emergency for Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures in the Kanto region is to be lifted on 21 March. However, as there have still been many cases confirmed in those areas, I ask you to refrain from travelling between and across such areas where infections have been greatly spreading. If you are planning to travel to other areas, please carefully assess the necessity of that travel. If you do visit such areas, please travel during less crowded weekdays as much as possible.

If you expect that it is difficult to avoid situations that could increase the risk of infections such as having dinners with a large number of people during the trip, please refrain from going on that trip.

On the other hand, while we are in this situation of living “With Corona” (Coexisting with COVID-19), anyone can become infected with COVID-19. I would like to ask everyone again not to discriminate and slander against healthcare related workers as well as those who are countering infectious diseases and people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members.

Now, we are in a situation in which new cases related to clusters of infections as well as cases not involved with the clusters of infections are being confirmed every day. I would like to ask everyone in the Prefecture as well as business operators to thoroughly cooperate in following the “New Lifestyle” and in taking preventative measures at events which will be held at the end and beginning of the fiscal year. We must make sure to stop the rebound of new cases.

I would like to ask you again for your understanding and cooperation.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 12 March, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

The number of new cases has stopped declining nationwide and it can be seen that in some prefectures including Fukushima Prefecture, there has been an upward trend. We are concerned about the rebound of new cases. As clusters of infections at medical institutions have spread in the Prefecture, the number of daily new cases continues to remain in double digits since the end of last month. The spread of COVID-19 remains unstoppable.

The rate of beds being occupied was 47.8 percent as of yesterday, and approaching 50 percent, which is a criterion for stage 4. We are now in the situation where caution is needed as the burden on the medical treatment systems in the Prefecture has been growing again.
Although the trend of the last week shows that about 60 percent of those infected are related to the clusters of infections which occurred at hospitals and facilities for the elderly, we are also concerned about the spread of infections which are not involved with the clusters of infections. Under these circumstances, if new clusters of infections should occur now due to eating and drinking or having dinners with people, it could lead to a larger explosive spread of the virus compared to the one we had during the end of the year and the New Year period.

Therefore, I would like to ask again everyone in the Prefecture to take preventative measures without letting their guard down.

In particular, until 31 March, I would like to ask for your continued cooperation in taking the following two actions as part of the important measures which are: “refraining from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas which have been subjected to the state of emergency and other areas where infections have been greatly spreading” and “avoiding restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places without thorough preventative measures in place”.

Next, this is a request to the facility administrators and business operators. It is deeply important for all the people working at medical facilities and such places to always keep in mind the preventative measures and act accordingly. I ask administrators of those medical facilities again to ensure that there are no oversights in their preventative measures and check themselves if those measures are properly being taken using the check list. I also ask them to check if each employee is thoroughly taking preventative measures. If the people working at the facilities or users of the facilities have even a slight change in their physical condition, they should immediately visit a medical institution.

Around this time from March to April every year, there are more people who actively travel to and from places as events are held for school commencements, enrollments or starting a job. I would like to ask everyone in the Prefecture to take the following two actions in addition to the important measures I mentioned earlier.

First, regarding school commencements, enrollment ceremonies and welcome ceremonies for new employees, I ask organisers to consider proper ways of holding the event such as taking preventative measures thoroughly, securing enough space between attendees and making it online. Also, as there have been many cases where infections have spread in situations involving eating and drinking nationwide, I ask residents to refrain from holding farewell and welcome parties, thank-you parties for teachers and cherry blossom viewing parties which involve drinking and eating especially with many people.

Second, I would like to talk about travel which include graduation trips. I ask you to refrain from travelling between and across Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures in the Kanto region where the state of emergency is still in place as well as the six prefectures where the state of emergency has just been lifted at the end of February. If you are planning to travel to other areas, please carefully assess the necessity of that travel. If you do visit such areas, please travel during less crowded weekdays as much as possible.
If you expect that it is difficult to avoid situations that could increase the risk of infections such as having dinners with a large number of people during the trip, please refrain from going on that trip.

On the other hand, while we are in this situation of living “With Corona” (Coexisting with COVID-19), anyone can become infected with COVID-19. I would like to ask everyone again not to discriminate and slander against healthcare related workers as well as those who are countering infectious diseases and people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members.

Now, we are in a situation in which clusters of infections are spreading and new cases not involved with the clusters of infections are continuously being confirmed. I would like to ask everyone in the Prefecture as well as business operators to thoroughly cooperate in following the “New Lifestyle”. We must make sure to stop the rebound of new cases.

I would like to ask you again for your understanding and cooperation.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Thursday, 4 March, 2021)

First of all, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the man who lost his life in the earthquake which occurred on the 13th last month. Also, I would like to express my sympathies to those who were affected by the earthquake. While working with municipalities, the Prefectural Government will exert the utmost effort so that those who were affected can regain their normal lives as soon as possible.

Once again, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

There has been a noticeable trend where the number of new cases has stopped declining nationwide including Fukushima. The most important issue we need to tackle is preventing the rebound of new cases. On the other hand, clusters of infections at medical institutions have spread in the Prefecture. There have been more than 30 new cases confirmed two days in a row with 38 cases the day before yesterday and 34 yesterday. Also, the recent trend shows that about 80 percent of those infected are related to the clusters of infections which occurred at hospitals and facilities for the elderly.

Meanwhile, excluding the facilities where clusters of infections have occurred, the number of new cases is being contained. This is thanks to the efforts of each and every person who has been thoroughly following the “New Lifestyle” which constitutes basic preventative measures and who has been continuing to implement careful actions while paying attention to the risk of infections. I would like to again express my appreciation for this.

However, due to clusters occurring one after another, the rate of beds being occupied was 36.9 percent as of yesterday, surpassing 25 percent, which is a criterion for stage 3. We are now in this situation where caution is needed in the Prefecture as the burden on the medical treatment systems has been growing again. If new clusters of infections should occur now, which are unrelated to the ones we are currently seeing at hospitals and facilities for the elderly, due to eating and drinking or having dinners with people, it could lead to a larger explosive spread of the virus compared to the one we had during the end of the year and the New Year period.

Therefore, I would like to ask again everyone in the Prefecture to take preventative measures without letting their guard down.

In particular, until 31 March, I would like to ask for your continued cooperation in taking the following two actions as part of the important measures which are: “refraining from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas which have been subjected to the state of emergency and other areas where infections have been greatly spreading” and “avoiding restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places without thorough preventative measures in place”.

Next, this is a request to the facility administrators and business operators. Since last month, eight clusters of infections have occurred in the Prefecture and three of them at medical facilities and four of them at facilities for the elderly.

It is deeply important for all the people working at medical facilities and such places to always keep in mind the preventative measures and act accordingly. I am fully aware that they are having a very hard time dealing with COVID-19. However, I ask administrators of those medical facilities to ensure that there are no oversights in their preventative measures and check themselves if those measures are properly being taken using the check list. I also ask them to check if each employee is thoroughly taking preventative measures. If the people working at the facilities or users of the facilities have even a slight change in their physical condition, they should immediately visit a medical institution.

Around this time from March to April every year, there are more people who actively travel to and from places as events are held for school commencements, enrollments or starting a job. In order to lower the risk of spreading infections as much as possible, I would like to ask everyone in the Prefecture to take the following two actions in addition to the important measures I mentioned earlier.

First, regarding school commencements, enrollment ceremonies and welcome ceremonies for new employees, I ask organisers to consider proper ways of holding the event such as taking preventative measures thoroughly and securing enough space between attendees. Also, as there have been many cases where infections have spread in situations involving eating and drinking nationwide, I ask residents to refrain from holding farewell and welcome parties, thank-you parties for teachers and cherry blossom viewing parties which involve drinking and eating.

Second, I would like to talk about travel which include graduation trips. I have asked residents to refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas which have been subjected to the state of emergency and other areas where infections have been greatly spreading as part of our important measures. Thus, I ask you to refrain from travelling between and across Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures in the Kanto region where the state of emergency is still in place as well as the six prefectures where the state of emergency has just been lifted at the end of February. If you are planning to travel to other areas, please carefully assess the necessity of that travel. If you do visit such areas, please travel during less crowded weekdays as much as possible.

If you expect that it is difficult to avoid situations that could increase the risk of infections such as having dinners with a large number of people during the trip, please refrain from going on that trip.

While we are in this situation of living “With Corona” (Coexisting with COVID-19), anyone can become infected with COVID-19. I would like to ask everyone again not to discriminate and slander against healthcare related workers as well as those who are countering infectious diseases and people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members.

Lastly, we are at a turning point in containing the resurgence of new cases in the Prefecture. I would like to ask everyone in the Prefecture as well as business operators to thoroughly cooperate in following the “New Lifestyle”. We must make sure to stop the rebound of new cases.

I would like to ask you again for your understanding and cooperation.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 26 February, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deep sorrow over the death of a man who passed away in the earthquake which occurred on the 13th this month and offer my condolences to his bereaved family. Also, I would like to express my sympathies to those affected by the earthquake. We have seen many houses damaged by the earthquake in wide areas in the Prefecture. While working with municipalities, the Prefectural Government will exert the utmost effort in restoring damaged structures and places and in rebuilding the livelihoods of those affected so that they can regain their normal lives as soon as possible.

Once again, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

As for the state of infections nationwide, there has been a downward trend since mid- January. However, the speed of decline in infections has been getting slower since around the middle of February and variant strains of COVID-19 have been confirmed. This shows that we remain in a difficult situation of COVID-19.

Under these circumstances, the four prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Aichi requested the central government to lift the state of emergency. Considering this request, the government will decide today to lift the state of emergency in six prefectures adding Gifu and Fukuoka prefectures with the four requested prefectures while extending the measure only in Tokyo and the surrounding three prefectures.

As for the state of infections in the Prefecture, in the beginning of January (9 to 11 January), the number of new cases in the past week was over 13 per 100,000 people. However, the monitoring indicators, on which alert levels for COVID-19 are based, have been improving steadily as the number of new cases per 100,000 people was about two after 6 February and the rate of beds being occupied has been below 20 percent.

On the other hand, since the beginning of this week, clusters of infections have occurred one after another at a medical facility and a facility for the elderly in Koriyama City. The rate of beds being occupied was 21.1 percent as of yesterday. If infections spread again in the future, it will put a significant burden on the medical treatment systems; and therefore, there is still no telling what can happen at this point.

Without letting our guard down, it is important to work to gradually revitalize the local economy while preventing the spread of infections again and keeping the level of infections as low as possible.

As the Prefectural Government is implementing measures which focus attention on preventing clusters of infections until 31 March, I would like to ask again the people of Fukushima Prefecture and business operators to do the following actions.

First of all, I would like to ask the people of Fukushima Prefecture to refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas which have been subjected to the state of emergency and other areas where infections have been greatly spreading. Also, please avoid restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places without thorough preventative measures in place.

Next, this is a request to the facility administrators and business operators. Since the beginning of this month, six clusters of infections have occurred in the Prefecture and three of them occurred at facilities for the elderly and two of them at medical facilities.

Under these circumstances, to prevent the elderly and people having preexisting conditions, those who are at higher risk of developing serious symptoms, from getting infected, I ask administrators of facilities for the elderly as well as facilities for people with disabilities to confirm again the preventative measures and to check themselves if those measures are properly being taken using the check list. It is important for all the people working at facilities and such places to always keep in mind the preventative measures. Therefore, I would like to ask each one of them to thoroughly confirm the items in the check list when they check themselves. If the people working at the facilities or users of the facilities have even a slight change in their physical condition, they should immediately visit a medical institution.

Also, although I completely understand how very serious the situation has been for medical institutions dealing with the infectious disease, I would like to ask them to check again and confirm that the preventative measures have not been overlooked.

For universities and specialized training colleges, I ask them to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Please remind students to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk for infections such as drinking with many people and participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken.

Lastly, while we are in this situation of living “With Corona” (Coexisting with COVID-19), anyone can become infected with COVID-19. I would like to ask everyone again not to discriminate and slander against healthcare related workers as well as those who are countering infectious diseases and people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members.

I would like to ask you for your continued understanding and cooperation.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Thursday, 18 February, 2021)

First of all, I would like to extend again my heartfelt sympathies to our residents who have been affected by the earthquake which occurred on 13 February. This earthquake has prompted municipalities to set up evacuation shelters in the Prefecture. As municipalities had to respond to this situation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are running these shelters while fully paying attention to the prevention of infections by checking the body temperatures of evacuees, utilising tents to secure distance between people, etc.

While working with municipalities, the Prefectural Government will exert the utmost effort in restoring damaged structures and places and in rebuilding the livelihoods of those affected so that they can regain their normal lives as soon as possible.

Once again, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

As for the state of infections nationwide, there has been a downward trend since mid- January. However, in the 10 prefectures which have been subject to the state of emergency, medical treatment systems are still being strained as the rate of hospitalized patients occupying hospital beds reserved for COVID-19 remains high. Thus, the central government has decided against lifting the state of emergency which was planned this week.

On the other hand, thanks to the cooperation of our residents and business operators, the indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, have been improving in the Prefecture and the rate of beds being occupied has continued to be below 25 percent since 13 February. This has led to the gradual reduction of the burden on the medical treatment systems.

However, since the beginning of February, three clusters of infections have occurred one after another, two of which involve more than 10 patients each. If infections spread again in the future, it will put a significant burden on the medical treatment systems; and therefore, there is still no telling what can happen at this point.

With regard to accommodation facilities for patients with mild symptoms, we will stop accepting patients at Toyoko Inn Iwaki Ekimae from the end of February. Also, we have secured 60 rooms at Iwaki Prince Hotel and are preparing to start operations toward the end of February. We will continue to work hard to enhance the medical treatment systems while paying attention to the state of infections.

Going forward, it is important to work to gradually revitalize the local economy while preventing the spread of infections again and keeping the level of infections as low as possible. If we let our guard down and infections spread again, it will put a significant burden on the medical treatment systems and there will be a risk in not being able to safely provide medical services as well as a risk having negative impact on the local economy.

The occurrence of clusters of infections rapidly increased the number of patients, which was the main cause of the strained bed capacity in the Prefecture. Therefore, from 15 February to 31 March, we are implementing measures which focus attention on preventing clusters of infections.

First of all, I would like to ask the people of Fukushima Prefecture to refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas which have been subjected to the state of emergency and other areas where infections have been greatly spreading. Also, please avoid restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places without thorough preventative measures in place.

Next, this is a request to the facility administrators and business operators. To prevent the elderly and people having preexisting conditions, those who are at higher risk of developing serious symptoms, from getting infected, I ask the administrators of facilities for the elderly as well as facilities for people with disabilities to confirm again the preventative measures and to check themselves if those measures are properly being taken using the check list. With the objective of informing young people and enhancing their education, I ask universities and specialized training colleges to be thorough in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior. Please remind students to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk for infections such as drinking with many people, participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken.

Although this may cause a burden to our residents and business operators, I would like to ask you again for your understanding and cooperation.

While we are in this situation of living “With Corona” (Coexisting with COVID-19), it is unavoidable that we will continue to have COVID-19 patients in the Prefecture. I would like to ask all of you to treat people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members, the healthcare related workers and frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19 with compassion. Also, I would ask everyone again not to discriminate and slander against them.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 12 February, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

Considering the alert level for infections of COVID-19 in Fukushima Prefecture was raised and corresponded to Stage 3, the period from 13 January to 7 February was set as the “Period of COVID-19 Emergency Measures in Fukushima Prefecture”. I requested our residents and business operators to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons and restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places to shorten business hours. At the time when I made the request, two of the indicators, which demonstrate the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and accommodation facilities per 100,000 people and the number of new cases in the past week, corresponded to Stage 3. In addition, the rate of hospitalized patients occupying hospital beds reserved for COVID-19, which indicates the strained bed capacity, remained over 60 percent at Stage 4 level. The medical treatment systems were on the verge of crisis.

After that, we have been seeing certain results in terms of the emergency measures, as the number of new cases and the rate of beds being occupied have been steadily moving to a downward trend. However, we needed to carefully assess whether the safe provision of medical services would continue to be maintained. Therefore, I decided to extend the “Period of COVID-19 Emergency Measures in Fukushima Prefecture” until 14 February at a meeting of the task force on 4 February last week.

Recently, a cluster of infections occurred at a medical facility in the Aizu region the day before yesterday on the 10th. The Prefectural Government is working to contain this cluster of infections at an early stage by immediately sending staff to the facility while receiving support from Fukushima Medical University.

On the other hand, thanks to the cooperation of our residents and business operators, the indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, have been improving and the rate of beds being occupied stood at 27.5 percent as of yesterday on the 11th.

Now, two of the indicators, which demonstrate the rate of all beds for COVID-19 being occupied and the rate of beds reserved for severely ill patients, correspond to Stage 3. However, both are showing an improving trend. Especially with the rate of all beds for COVID-19 being occupied, the situation is largely improving compared to one month ago. The rate is now at a low level of close to 25 percent which is at the lower limit of the Stage 3 range between 25 and 50 percent.

As we have comprehensively considered how the situation has been changing and that the number of new cases is moving to a downward trend, we have determined the situation of infections in the Prefecture has improved to correspond to Stage 2 and we will end the “Period of COVID-19 Emergency Measures in Fukushima Prefecture” on 14 February. These emergency measures have caused our residents and business operators serious trouble and inconvenience for about one month since 13 January. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one for your understanding and cooperation. Also, I would like to express my sincere gratitude again to the many healthcare providers who are cooperating in accepting patients or securing beds.

Although the indicators, on which the alert levels of for COVID-19 are based, have been gradually improving because of these emergency measures, it is important to prevent the spread of infections again and maintain this level as low as possible.

Now, although we have decided to end the “Period of COVID-19 Emergency Measures in Fukushima Prefecture”, it does not mean we will stop taking preventative measures. The occurrence of clusters of infections rapidly increased the number of patients, which was the main cause of the strained bed capacity in the Prefecture. A new cluster of infections was confirmed in the Aizu region this week, as well. If we let our guard down and infections spread again, it will put a significant burden on the medical treatment systems and there will be a risk in not being able to safely provide medical services.

Therefore, from 15 February to 31 March, we will be implementing measures which focus attention on preventing clusters of infections. Although this may cause once again our residents and business operators trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask for your cooperation.

First, this is a request to the people of Fukushima Prefecture. When we analyze the situations where infections have spread in the Prefecture, it can be assumed that the infections first came from outside the Prefecture, then spread when people were eating and drinking together without taking enough preventative measures. Therefore, I would like to ask you to refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas which have been subjected to the state of emergency and other areas where infections have been greatly spreading. Also, please avoid restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places without thorough preventative measures in place. In addition, I ask you to act prudently while keeping in mind the “5 situations” that have an increased risk for infections.

Next, this is a request to the facility administrators and business operators. Many clusters of infections have occurred at medical facilities and social welfare facilities in the Prefecture since last December. To prevent the elderly and people having preexisting conditions, those who are at higher risk of developing serious symptoms, from getting infected, I ask the administrators of facilities for the elderly as well as facilities for people with disabilities to confirm again the preventative measures and to check themselves if those measures are properly being taken using the check list.

Also, considering the clusters of infections which have occurred up to this point, I feel that these messages have not been properly conveyed to the young people. Therefore, I ask universities and specialized training colleges to be thorough in reminding students to refrain from taking actions that have a high risk for infections such as drinking with many people, participating in club activities in which preventative measures are not thoroughly taken, and travelling between and across areas which have been subjected to the state of emergency and other areas where infections have been greatly spreading. I have read news reports that said the aftereffects of COVID-19 are also seen among young people. So please cooperate in raising the awareness of young people about changing their behavior.

In addition, I would like restaurants and other such places to continue to be thorough in taking preventative measures based on the guidelines.

I would sincerely like to ask all of you to understand and cooperate in order to guarantee the results of your engagement and efforts up to this point as well as to protect the lives and health of the people, and the medical treatment systems.

Finally, I would like to talk about maintaining and revitalizing the local economy. While considering the state of infections, I am planning to gradually restart the suspended campaign for the advance purchase tickets for restaurants and Kenminwari or hotel discounts exclusively for the people of Fukushima. On the premise that thorough preventative measures will be taken, we will work to ensure the maintenance and revitalization of the local economy.

While we are in this situation of living “With Corona” (Coexisting with COVID-19), it is unavoidable that we will continue to have COVID-19 patients in the Prefecture. I would like to ask all of you to treat people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members, the healthcare related workers and frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19 with compassion. Also, I would ask everyone again not to discriminate and slander against them.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Thursday, 4 February, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

The day before yesterday, the central government has decided to extend the state of emergency in 10 prefectures except for Tochigi Prefecture for one month based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response. While the number of new cases nationwide is moving to a downward trend, the number of severely ill patients hovers around 1,000 per day, which shows that we remain in a difficult situation of COVID-19.

The number of new cases in the Prefecture hit a daily record high of 46 cases on 9 January, bringing the cumulative number of infections to a monthly record high of 779 cases in January. The rate of hospitalized patients occupying hospital beds reserved for COVID-19, which indicates the strained bed capacity, was over 60 percent. Additionally, the six indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, had been rapidly worsening. There was no denying that the medical treatment systems were on the verge of crisis.

Considering these circumstances, it was determined that the alert level in Fukushima Prefecture was raised and corresponded to Stage 3. Then, the period from 13 January to 7 February was set as the “Period of COVID-19 Emergency Measures in Fukushima Prefecture,” based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response. I requested our residents and business operators to refrain from going out and restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places to shorten business hours.

After the enforcement of these emergency measures, the number of new cases per week has been steadily declining, with 219 cases in the first week, then 160 cases and 72 cases thereafter. This is thanks to the understanding and cooperation of each and every resident and business operator, and I would like to express my sincere gratitude to them. On the other hand, the rate of beds being occupied has been gradually decreasing after peaking at 66.5 percent on 15 January, and now the rate stands at 38.2 percent (as of 3 February). Currently, when combined with the rate of beds reserved for severely ill patients, two of the indicators are at Stage 3.

In addition to the number of new cases moving to a downward trend, the rate of beds being occupied has been improving. However, we need to carefully assess whether the safe provision of medical services will continue to be maintained after the state of emergency is lifted without having the beds be strained again for a short period of time.

Therefore, the Fukushima Prefectural Government has decided to extend the “Period of COVID-19 Emergency Measures in Fukushima Prefecture” for one week until 14 February. Although this may cause our residents and business operators trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask you again for your understanding and cooperation to prevent the spread of infections.

I ask our residents to refrain from travelling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas which have been subject to the state of emergency and other areas including the 10 prefectures where infections have been greatly spreading. Also, I ask you to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons even in the Prefecture, and especially be thorough in refraining from going out after 8:00 p.m. I ask restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day as well as stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m.

We will extend the period of providing a “cash payment for the cooperation in preventing the spread of COVID-19” to businesses which continue to cooperate with the request. Also, this time, we have decided to start providing a temporary financial relief fund during the “Period of COVID-19 Emergency Measures in Fukushima Prefecture”. This is to support business operators whose sales have decreased due to being impacted by the shortening hours of businesses with which they have relationships as well as business operators who have declining sales due to being directly impacted by the request which asks residents to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons.

Along with these emergency measures, I would like to ask you to make further efforts to prevent the spread of infections by thoroughly following the “New Lifestyle” such as always wearing a mask when talking. As for daily activities, please act prudently while sufficiently keeping in mind the “5 situations” that have an increased risk for infections.

Thanks to the cooperation of our residents and business operators, we are seeing certain results in terms of the emergency measures. I would sincerely like to ask all of you to cooperate to ensure the results of your engagement and efforts up to this point as well as to protect the lives and health of the people, and the medical treatment systems.

Considering the circumstances where medical treatment systems are being strained, the Fukushima Prefectural Government has secured a total of 244 rooms in accommodation facilities with 24 rooms at another facility which we will start operations in Aizu Wakamatsu City. This is in addition to operations which have started in Koriyama City at the end of last month. By the end of February, we are preparing to start accepting patients in Aizu Wakamatsu City. As a result, the use of accommodation facilities will be available in all areas of the Coastal, Central and Aizu regions. I hope that this will lead to reducing the burden of transportation for patients and smooth coordination of accepting patients to those facilities.

We have also organised a support system and other measures to secure beds which are immediately available so that patients can be accepted to medical facilities even a little easier. As a result, with the cooperation of many medical institutions, we were able to increase the number of beds from 350 to 391 today. On the other hand, the situation remains at a level where the maintenance of both emergency and routine medical care is being affected. Therefore, in order to reduce the burden on the medical treatment systems, we will continue to work hard to ensure the use of accommodation facilities and wide-area coordination in accepting patients. We will also continue prefecture-wide preventative measures.

While we are in this situation of living “With Corona” (Coexisting with COVID-19), it is unavoidable that we will continue to have COVID-19 patients in the Prefecture. I would like to ask all of you to treat people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members, the healthcare related workers and frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19 with compassion. Also, I would ask everyone again not to discriminate and slander against them.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Thursday, 28 January, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures. Especially, I would like to express my gratitude again to the restaurants and other such places for cooperating in shortening business hours as well as to the business operators who have business relationships with those restaurants for dealing with the difficult situation in business.

While the daily number of new cases nationwide has continued to increase and decrease since the 8th this month with about 8,000 (7,876) cases, there has been a gradual downward trend with less than 3,000 (2,775) new cases being confirmed on the 25th.  However, the number of severely ill patients remains over 1,000 per day which shows that we remain in a difficult situation of COVID-19.

Fukushima Prefecture also has seen a certain improving trend in the number of new cases since 13 January, when the “Period of COVID-19 Emergency Measures in Fukushima Prefecture” was set, thanks to our residents and business operators’ understanding and cooperation. On the other hand, as a large scale cluster of infections occurred at a facility for the elderly in Minami-Aizu area, where cases had not been confirmed much, there is still no telling what can happen at this point.

The rate of hospitalized patients occupying hospital beds reserved for COVID-19, which indicates the strained bed capacity, is over 50 percent, which is a criterion for stage 4. Among this, the rate of immediately available beds being occupied surpassed over 70 percent. Also, on the 22nd, for the 42 beds reserved for severely ill patients, the rate of beds being occupied surpassed over 25 percent for the first time, which is a criterion for stage 3. This shows that we are still in a serious situation which puts a significant burden on the medical treatment systems.

So, we have secured a total of 220 rooms in accommodation facilities in the Prefecture, including one facility which we started operating in Koriyama City yesterday on the 27th.

Regarding patients who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, if they are deemed not to develop serious symptoms, the Fukushima Prefectural Government will work to ensure the active utilization of these facilities. Also, if patients have family reasons such as child rearing or are in a situation which requires consideration in the accommodation facilities, and if they are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, they are allowed to recuperate at home as a provisional or temporary measure. The stay-at-home recuperation is being managed by public health centres who will absolutely make sure that the health of these patients is all right.

Considering these difficult circumstances, the Prefectural Government has set the period until 7 February as the “Period of COVID-19 Emergency Measures in Fukushima Prefecture”. I have asked everyone in the Prefecture to take the following two actions. I ask residents of Fukushima to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons. Also, I request restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places to shorten business hours during nighttime. Although these requests may cause you trouble and inconvenience, I would like to ask you again to continue your cooperation.

We have seen the increase of new cases in the Prefecture as well as the whole country at facilities for the elderly and nursing care service facilities including the occurrence of clusters of infections. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to workers who have been working hard to deal with the situation at those facilities. I would like to ask again the workers at each facility to check and thoroughly take preventative measures based on the notices and checklists we have provided.

In addition, as we are heading towards the peak season for taking entrance exams, I think many students will be traveling outside the Prefecture. Although they are in a difficult situation, I sincerely hope those students will be able to do their best. If you, as well as students taking entrance exams, travel between and across areas which have been subject to the state of emergency and other areas, please take preventative measures thoroughly such as wearing a mask when in those areas. I also ask you to thoroughly observe your health condition for the two weeks since returning to Fukushima and if you feel abnormal in your condition, please consult with your family doctor or consultation hotlines (Jyushin-Sodan-Senta) immediately.

In Fukushima, we are now in a crucial stage of containing the spread of infections. I would sincerely like to ask people and business operators in Fukushima to cooperate in protecting the lives and health of people and preventing the medical treatment systems from collapsing.

While we are in this situation of living “With Corona” (Coexisting with COVID-19), it is unavoidable that we will continue to have COVID-19 patients in the Prefecture. I would like to ask all of you to treat people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members, the healthcare related workers and frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19 with compassion. Also, I would ask everyone again not to discriminate and slander against them.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Thursday, 21 January, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

As for the state of infections nationwide, there has not been a considerable decrease in the number of new cases in the areas under the state of emergency such as Tokyo Metropolis and Kanagawa and Osaka prefectures. Many new cases have been confirmed every day elsewhere around the country. Also, the spread of COVID-19 remains unstoppable as the nation’s daily death toll from the virus exceeded 100 for the first time on the 19th this week.
Fukushima Prefecture also has not seen signs of COVID-19 being contained. The number of new cases in January has reached 578 as of yesterday on the 20th surpassing the monthly record high of 455 cases in about half a month. The cumulative number of infections topped 1,500, or 1,534 to be exact.
Also, the rate of hospitalized patients occupying hospital beds reserved for COVID-19, which indicates the strained bed capacity, remains at a very high level of around 60 percent. Among this, the number of beds which are immediately available is 350 as of today; however, the rate of beds being occupied is about 80%, which indicates that the bed capacity is being strained. This shows that we are in a serious situation which puts a significant burden on the medical treatment systems.

Considering these difficult circumstances, the Prefectural Government has set the period from 13 January to 7 February as the “Period of COVID-19 Emergency Measures in Fukushima Prefecture,” covering the entire prefecture. During this period, I would like to make two requests for cooperation in preventing the spread of infections based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response. Although most of you have already been cooperating, I would like to ask residents of Fukushima and business operators again for their cooperation in the prefectural emergency measures.

First, this is a request to the people of Fukushima Prefecture. I ask you to refrain from traveling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas which have been subject to the state of emergency and other areas where infections have been greatly spreading. Also, I ask you to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons even in the Prefecture, and especially be thorough in refraining from going out after 8:00 p.m.

Second, this is a request to business operators. I request restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day as well as stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m.

Along with these emergency measures, I would like to ask you to make further efforts to prevent the spread of infections by thoroughly following the “New Lifestyle” such as always wearing a mask when talking. As for daily activities, please act prudently while sufficiently keeping in mind the “5 situations” that have an increased risk for infections.
In Fukushima, we are now in a crucial stage and critical juncture of containing the spread of infections. Although these requests may cause people and business operators in Fukushima trouble and inconvenience, I would sincerely like to ask each and every one of us to cooperate in protecting the lives and health of people and preventing the medical treatment systems from collapsing.

While we are in this situation of living “With Corona” (Coexisting with COVID-19), it is unavoidable that we will continue to have COVID-19 patients in the Prefecture. I would like to ask all of you to treat people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members, the healthcare related workers and frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19 with compassion. Also, I would ask everyone again not to discriminate and slander against them.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 15 January, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

The spread of COVID-19 remains unstoppable nationwide. On 13 January, the central government has declared the state of emergency based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response for seven prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Aichi, Gifu, Fukuoka and Tochigi until 7 February, after it was declared for Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures in the Kanto region on 7 January.

As for the state of infections in the Prefecture, the spread of COVID-19 remains unstoppable as 23 new cases were confirmed on 12 January, 38 cases on the 13th, and 36 cases yesterday on the 14th. Also, the rate of hospitalized patients occupying hospital beds reserved for COVID-19, which indicates the strained bed capacity, remains at a very high level in the range of 60 percent.

Among this, the number of beds which are immediately available is 348 as of today; however, the rate of beds being occupied is approaching 90%, which means that we are operating near full capacity of beds. I have to say that the medical treatment systems are still in the midst of the crisis.

Considering these difficult circumstances, the Prefectural Government has set the period from 13 January to 7 February as the “Period of COVID-19 Emergency Measures in Fukushima Prefecture,” covering the entire prefecture. During this period, I would like to make two requests for cooperation in preventing the spread of infections based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response. Although most of you have already been cooperating, I would like to ask residents of Fukushima and business operators again for their cooperation in the prefectural emergency measures.

 

First, this is a request to the people of Fukushima Prefecture. Until 7 February, I ask you to refrain from traveling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across areas which have been subject to the state of emergency and other areas where infections have been greatly spreading. Also, I ask you to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons even in the Prefecture, and especially be thorough in refraining from going out after 8:00 p.m.

Second, this is a request to business operators. During the period from today to 7 February, I request restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day as well as stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m. We will be providing a “cash payment for the cooperation in shortening business hours” to businesses which cooperate with the request.

Along with these emergency measures, I would like to ask you to make further efforts to prevent the spread of infections by thoroughly following the “New Lifestyle” such as always wearing a mask when talking. As for daily activities, please act prudently while sufficiently keeping in mind the “5 situations” that have an increased risk for infections.
In Fukushima, we are now in a crucial stage and critical juncture of containing the spread of infections. Although these requests may cause people and business operators in Fukushima trouble and inconvenience, I would sincerely like to ask each and every one of us to cooperate in protecting the lives and health of people and preventing the medical treatment systems from collapsing.

While we are in this situation of living “With Corona” (Coexisting with COVID-19), it is unavoidable that we will continue to have COVID-19 patients. This week, there has also been a case at a school in the Prefecture where some people contracted the virus while staying in the Tokyo metropolitan area to take part in a national competition. Although they paid special attention in preventing the spread of infections, they contracted the virus. I would like to ask all of you to treat people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members, the healthcare related workers and frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19 with compassion. Also, I would ask everyone again not to discriminate and slander against them.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Tuesday, 12 January, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

The spread of COVID-19 remains unstoppable nationwide and prefectures one after the other are hitting new daily record highs of cases, pushing the nation’s daily tally to hover around 6,000 to 7,000 cases. Considering these circumstances, based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response, the central government has declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures in the Kanto region until 7 February. There is also preparations from the central government to expand the state of emergency to the prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo, which indicates that Japan is seeing the number of cases keep increasing.

Infections have also been spreading at an accelerated pace in Fukushima. The number of cases hit a daily record high of 46 cases on the 9th this month, bringing the total number of new cases to more than 300 already in January. If this increasing pace remains constant, the number of new cases is expected to reach 455, the monthly record of December, in about half a month.
With the increase of new cases, the rate of hospitalized patients occupying hospital beds reserved for COVID-19, which indicates the strained bed capacity, has reached a very high level in the range of 60 percent. Additionally, the six indicators, on which the alert levels for COVID-19 are based, have been rapidly worsening. I have to say that the medical treatment systems are on the verge of crisis.
Considering these circumstances, I am aware that the alert level in Fukushima is now corresponding to Stage 3 which indicates the “rapid increase of new cases and a phase in which measures are necessary to prevent the medical treatment systems from failing significantly”.

Since the end of the year and the New Year, new cases have been confirmed over wide parts of the Prefecture. In addition, during the last one to two months, there has been an increase in cases where infections are thought to have first occurred in situations involving eating and drinking and then spread at homes and workplaces. In order to minimize the impact on the local economy and stop the spread of infections at the same time, we need to intensively take stronger measures.
Therefore, the Fukushima Prefectural Government has decided to set the period from 13 January to 7 February as the “Period of COVID-19 Emergency Measures in Fukushima Prefecture,” covering the entire prefecture. During this period, I would like to make two requests to our residents and business operators to cooperate in preventing the spread of infections based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response.

First, this is a request to the people of Fukushima Prefecture. During the period from tomorrow 13 January to 7 February, I ask you to refrain from traveling for nonurgent and nonessential reasons between and across Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures which have been subject to the state of emergency and other areas where infections have been greatly spreading. Also, I ask you to refrain from going out for nonurgent and nonessential reasons even in the Prefecture, and especially be thorough in refraining from going out after 8:00 p.m.

Second, this is a request to business operators. During the period from 15 January to 7 February, I request restaurants with hospitality services, restaurants which serve alcohol and other such places to refrain from having their businesses open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day as well as stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m.
We will be providing a “cash payment for the cooperation in preventing the spread of COVID-19” to businesses which cooperate with the request. The period of this request is set from the 15th, taking into account the period to prepare. For those businesses which start cooperating from the 13th, we will pay for that advance period; therefore, I ask you to cooperate as soon as possible.
Along with these emergency measures, I would like to ask you to make further efforts to prevent the spread of infections by thoroughly following the “New Lifestyle” such as always wearing a mask when talking and please act prudently while sufficiently keeping in mind the “5 situations” that have an increased risk for infections.
In Fukushima, we are now in a crucial stage and critical juncture of containing the spread of infections. Although these requests may cause people and business operators in Fukushima trouble and inconvenience, I would sincerely like to ask each and every one of us to cooperate in protecting the lives and health of people and preventing the medical treatment systems from collapsing.

While we are in this situation of living “With Corona” (Coexisting with COVID-19), it is unavoidable that we will continue to have COVID-19 patients in the Prefecture. I would like to ask all of you to treat people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members, the healthcare related workers and frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19 with compassion. Also, I would ask everyone again not to discriminate and slander against them.

Governor’s message for the people of Fukushima (Friday, 8 January, 2021)

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, clinical laboratory technologists as well as workers at public health centres countering infectious diseases. They have been working hard day and night on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 to protect the lives and health of the people in Fukushima. I would also like to express my gratitude to our residents and business operators who have been cooperating in preventative measures.

The spread of COVID-19 remains unstoppable nationwide and the daily number of new cases surpassed 7,000 for the first time yesterday. Under these circumstances, based on the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response, the central government has declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures in the Kanto region which account for about half of all cases in the country. It will take effect today on 8 January and will last for a month until 7 February.
Infections are also spreading in the Prefecture. Last month in December, there was a monthly record high of 455 cases confirmed including 9 clusters of infections. Five of them occurred in situations that involve eating and drinking, which indicates that eating and drinking and conversations without wearing a mask are one of the major causes of the spread of infections.
Since the beginning of January, 184 new cases have already been confirmed and infections are spreading at a pace faster than last month. With the number of patients increasing, the burden on the medical treatment systems has also been growing. We are in an extremely difficult situation as the rate of hospitalized patients occupying hospital beds reserved for COVID-19, which indicates the strained bed capacity, has surpassed 50 percent in the entire Prefecture.
Also, multiple new cases have been confirmed at restaurants in Iwaki City and Shirakawa City this month, and especially the cases in Shirakawa City were from a cluster of infections. We are concerned that the infections may still spread further.
Considering the increase in the number of cases and the expansion of infected areas, further caution is needed now in the Prefecture more than ever before.
The Fukushima Prefectural Government will work closely with various relevant organizations including the central government and municipalities to prevent the spread of infections, and exert the utmost effort in securing a testing system as well as medical treatment systems which include the utilization of accommodation facilities for patients with mild symptoms so that everyone can feel safe.

Considering these difficult circumstances, I strongly request everyone in the Prefecture to take the following three actions.

First, when you are going out, please thoroughly think about the necessity of the outing and act prudently.
Second, please avoid eating and drinking with people who are not usually around you.
Third, please do not have conversations without wearing a mask.

These are the three points which I request.

In Fukushima, we are now in a critical juncture. We can overcome COVID-19; however, it depends on the actions of each and every person. I urge you to take actions that prevent new cases of infections in order to protect your own life and those of your loved ones, prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed and protect our society.
Following the declaration of the state of emergency, I also ask you to refrain from traveling between and across Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures for nonurgent and nonessential reasons from tomorrow 9 January to 7 February. Even if you are planning to travel to areas other than Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures where infections are spreading, I ask you to carefully assess the necessity of that travel.

We will be having Coming of Age Day this weekend on 11 January. I would like to ask again young people including those who will be coming of age this year. Some think that young people do not develop serious symptoms if they are infected. However, young people need to be aware that if they contract the virus, they could put their parents, grandfathers, grandmothers and those who took care of them at risk. Eating and drinking with friends is fun and even more so when meeting them for the first time in years. However, please be patient at this moment and thoroughly follow the actions I have asked above. I would like to ask municipalities which will be holding Coming of Age Day ceremonies to thoroughly take preventative measures by observing the guidelines for holding events such as securing proper physical distance between participants. I also ask them to inform participants that eating and drinking before and after the ceremony, including online ones, should be refrained.
While we are in this situation of living “With Corona” (Coexisting with COVID-19), it is unavoidable that we will continue to have COVID-19 patients in the Prefecture. I would like to ask all of you to treat people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members, the healthcare related workers and frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19 with compassion. Also, I would ask everyone again not to discriminate and slander against them.