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Opinion

Japan's state of emergency has dark history

Governments used them for medical and military ends, but lost powers after the war

| Japan
All shops at the entrance of the Asakusa Kannon Temple are closed on Mar. 28; this is not action that is legally demanded.   © LightRocket/Getty Images

Barak Kushner is a professor of East Asian History at the University of Cambridge.

It has been a long road to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's declaration of a state of emergency to help tackle the outbreak of coronavirus. Japan's difficult history of states of emergency goes some way toward explaining why.

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