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Abe says hospitals near 'limit' as Japan enters state of emergency

Prime minister warns infections risk ballooning to 80,000

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe explains the thinking behind Japan's state of emergency on April 7. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai) 

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday declared a monthlong state of emergency, warning of the strain on hospitals and saying the coronavirus crisis poses the biggest threat to the economy since World War II.

The emergency declaration gives the governors of Tokyo and six other selected prefectures -- Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Fukuoka, Hyogo and Osaka -- legal backing to ask the public to stay home.

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