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Japan tightens entry from Southeast Asia as coronavirus cases jump

Abe sets up task force, while consumers rush to stores

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a government coronavirus task force meeting in Tokyo on Thursday. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai) 

TOKYO -- Japan stepped up its campaign against the new coronavirus, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched a ministerial task force that paves the way for a possible declaration of a national state of emergency.

Abe said on Thursday that Japan will further tighten entry restrictions for international travelers, placing all visitors from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa under a 14-day self-quarantine and suspending all visas and visa waiver programs for these regions.

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