Japan says no need now for state of emergency

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee Yoshiro Mori, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga attend a telephone conference with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach (not pictured) at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan March 24, 2020, in this photo released by Japan's Cabinet Public Relations Office via Kyodo. Picture taken March 24, 2020. Mandatory credit Japan's Cabinet Public Relations Office via Kyodo/via REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Japanese government said on Friday there was no need now to declare a state of emergency, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the previous day described the coronavirus as a “national crisis” following a surge of cases in Tokyo.

Japan at this stage is not in a situation where it needs to issue an emergency declaration, top spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a regular news conference.

Abe has set up a new crisis task force, seen as a preliminary step towards declaring a state of emergency.

Reporting by Izumi Nakagawa; Editing by Tom Hogue