Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed Sunday to work closely amid concerted international efforts to contain the new coronavirus outbreak during their telephone conversation, the Japanese government said.
As the global spread of the pneumonia-causing virus raises concerns over holding the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer, the two leaders also affirmed cooperation on the July 24 to Aug. 9 Games.
During their talks, held at the request of Britain, Johnson said he wished for the success of the games, according to the Japanese government.
They also shared the view that the two, along with other members of the Group of Seven industrialized countries, should join forces to prevent the outbreak of the virus, now labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization, from slowing global growth.
Abe briefed Johnson on what measures Tokyo has taken so far to combat the virus that originated in China late last year.
The Japanese premier has requested that all schools be shut until a spring break ends in early April, and big sports and cultural events be canceled, postponed or scaled-down.
Japan also implemented tougher border control steps for travelers from China and South Korea, as it believes it is in a critical period now for blocking a potential surge in infections.
New coronavirus cases topped 1,500 in Japan, including about 700 from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship. In Britain, more than 1,000 people tested positive for the virus as of Saturday, with more than 300 new cases confirmed in one day.
Johnson also expressed gratitude for the humanitarian aid provided for the quarantined British cruise ship, which is operated by a U.S. company, adding that he would like to visit Japan once the situation settles.
The leaders of the G-7 countries are scheduled to hold a videoconference on Monday to discuss their responses to the global virus spread, as the outbreak continues to roil financial markets and more countries move to impose travel restrictions.
The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, as well as the European Union.
Abe held separate phone talks with U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron last Friday on cooperation to contain the virus.