Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference on coronavirus at his official residence in Tokyo, Japan February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday promised his government’s utmost efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, while acknowledging the authorities alone could not tackle the threat.
“To be frank, we cannot win this battle through the efforts of the government alone,” Abe told a news conference two days after abruptly calling for all schools nationwide to be closed for more than a month.
“I have decided we must make all efforts in the next one or two weeks to prevent the spread” of the virus, he said, while expressing confidence this was possible.
Abe said plans were proceeding for a spring visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping and for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, but said Japan won’t hesitate to expand immigration curbs if needed.
Reporting by Junko Fujita; Additional reporting by Linda Sieg, Chang-Ran Kim and Elaine Lies; Editing by William Mallard