April 1, 2020 / 3:03 AM / 4 months ago

Japan on brink of emergency as coronavirus spreads - government spokesman

A man wearing a protective face mask, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), walks past almost empty Japanese drinking bars alley at Shinjuku district in Tokyo, Japan March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan remains on the brink of a state of emergency as the rate of coronavirus infections continues to increase in the country, its top government spokesman said on Wednesday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters controlling the virus was a top priority, and that the government would do “whatever is needed” to minimise the economic impact after a nationwide poll released earlier in the day showed a pessimistic turn in sentiment among manufacturers because of the virus.

Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Tom Hogue

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