crime

Tokyo government considers fining people who knowingly go out when infected with COVID-19

12 Comments
By SoraNews24

With Tokyo’s number of coronavirus cases stubbornly high compared with the rest of the country and fears lingering over a potential third wave, the Metropolitan Assembly is meeting to discuss possible countermeasures.

One such idea that will be up for discussion is the establishment of a standardized ordinance to discourage people from going out while infected.

Of course, there have been recorded cases of people diagnosed with COVID-19 disregarding orders to stay home and infecting others as a result. However, they are all handled legally on a case by case basis, with the existing laws applying to each circumstance.

Instead, Yu Ito of Governor Yuriko Koike’s party Tomin First no Kai is suggesting “rather than imposing punishments on each case, we ought to promote self-restraint through punishable ordinances,” as a more proactive approach.

To accomplish this, they hope to build on the existing national Act on Special Countermeasures Against New-Type Flu and Other Novel Infections that was established in 2012 but expanded this year to include COVID-19. This law holds people liable with fines of up to 50,000 yen for ignoring government-mandated restrictions and infecting others. It also penalizes businesses through fines and publicly naming them.

Ito and others in his party would like to apply similar kinds of fines on Tokyo residents who knowingly go into public places while infected with COVID-19 and as a result cause infections in others. Business owners who force COVID-19 patients to go to work or perform any other task that is hazardous to others would also be held accountable.

According to an online survey by Tomin First no Kai, a majority of residents support the idea, with 54.6 percent saying such people should be penalized. However netizens were quick to point out issues with the plan, namely that it is hard to enforce and smells of government overreach.

“What? How do you prove this? This is crazy.”

“I think the idea is alright, but it’s virtually impossible to prove someone infected a certain person.”

“This will just make people hide their cases more and make infection routes harder to trace.”

“I thought a lot more than 54.6 percent would be behind this.”

“Don’t base legislation on online polls.”

“It’s kind of overkill, but I guess it’s okay.”

“This will make discrimination against infected people worse.”

“Thanks to some stupid people, everyone in Tokyo will have to be suspects.”

Overreach and enforcement difficulties didn’t stop Tokyo from enacting a wide-reaching anti-smoking ordinance a few years ago, which even restricted smoking in people’s homes under certain circumstances. In fact, fellow Tomin First no Kai lawmaker Koki Okamoto is now citing that very ordinance as a successful example which was effective at modifying people’s behavior within the city.

However, a bigger hurdle of this ordinance is that it’s putting the cart before the horse. While setting out to punish those who do not adhere to Tokyo’s guidelines, opponents were quick to point out that Tokyo currently doesn’t have clearly defined guidelines for people to violate.

Up until now, various industries have largely been self-regulating, such as the prohibition on screaming while riding roller coasters that was set up by East and West Japan Theme Park Associations rather than any government body.

For Tokyo to bring in their own set of guidelines at this point would mean having to navigate the existing framework of guidelines that the private sector has already come up with without them. This brings the argument right back around to whether it is worth putting in all the money and effort into setting up such a law – just to dissuade people from knowingly infecting each other with COVID-19.

Sources: FNN Prime Online, Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Tokyo plan to give 100,000 yen to residents who get infected with coronavirus sparks backlash

-- Toyama Prefectural University able to locate potential COVID-19 clusters from raw sewage

-- Why have no COVID-19 clusters occurred in pachinko parlors?

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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With limited testing ( as well as not testing people who show mild symptoms) this entire plan to fine people is just a farce!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

This law holds people liable with fines of up to 50,000 yen for ignoring government-mandated restrictions and infecting others.

50,000 Yen is not enough. they should do jail time.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

With limited testing ( as well as not testing people who show mild symptoms) this entire plan to fine people is just a farce!

Absolutely

0 ( +3 / -3 )

fines on Tokyo residents who knowingly go 

As long as the burden of proof relies on a positive test (and cognisance thereof) beforehand, and Tokyo takes steps to support patients' holistic wellbeing, fair enough. Fine transgressors, yes.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Is Japan doing anything to increase quick, effective, cheap testing? Or is it avoiding this on purpose to keep number of cases down and as a pretext to make it extremely difficult for foreign PRs from returning?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Let’s fine people for walking and breathing then?

Last week I was negligently or maliciously shoulder checked in the street-incarceration then?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

To do what? surround them with people holding "stay home" placards and going against their own calls for social distancing by doing so? When companies and society in general will allow people who are infected to stay home, with SUPPORT, then by all means, start enforcing non-existent laws about making them stay home. Until then, they cannot cry foul.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan should adopt the virus rapid tests that are currently in use in the US and actually prove how well we are doing here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why smoking fines are ¥2000 but they want ¥50000?

they are just showing off. If they were serious they would ban 3 day business visas with no 2 week quarantine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tokyo government considers fining people who knowingly go out when infected with COVID-19

I actually agree with the concept, but I see no way in the world how to fairly enforce this, so it looks like once again the cure is worse than the disease.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tokyo government considers fining people who knowingly go out when infected with COVID-19

riiigghhhhht.............

and who's going to enforce such things?

The police? No, they have to worry about deleting LINE histories of sending adult videos to their phones from criminal confiscated goods.

The grumpy old men you find around the city? Possibly. They yell at everyone for everything for no good reason anyways.

The government? They can't even enforce legitimately good ideas in office. How are they going to enforce people.

Teachers? Possibly, at least with their students. But unfortunately their hands are tied with useless tests and club activities.

Well, I guess it's not happening either way. Thank you for playing!

But seriously JGov, can you guys just go away and leave decision making to people with actual life experience and intelligence?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

OK, complainers, I remember back early when the Japanese tried for voluntary measures, the JapanToday denizen base was screaming, and at least one of them even suggested the abuse of anti-drug ordinance just to isolate people. So I expect to see only support from this site :-)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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