How Will the Public React?
While the measure does not contain strong enforcement measures, expectations are that most individuals and businesses will comply.
Many people have already heeded calls to work from home, with Tokyo’s notoriously crowded transport system noticeably emptier in recent weeks.
And a request from the Tokyo governor for people to stay home on weekends has also resulted in significantly quieter streets, even in the sunny final days of cherry blossom season.
Japan’s legal system, influenced by the legacy of wartime excesses, limits the government’s power over its citizens.
Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of the law implementing the state of emergency, said residents would be asked, not ordered.
“Our legal system is set up so that people as a whole unite and share the burden of preventing the spread of infection,” rather than resorting to forcible measures, he said in parliament on Monday.
And there are signs the public is on board, with a poll published by private broadcaster TBS on Monday showing 80 percent of participants supported a declaration of emergency.