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西村大臣は「できるだけ出かけないようにしてください。そして、会社に行く人をいつもより70%少なくしてください。去年の春もお願いしたことで、緊急事態宣言を早くやめるためです」と言っています。
Minister Nishimura said "Please don't go out if possible, and please reduce the number of people going to work by 70%. ?????"

  1. I'm assuming I've translated 会社に行く人をいつもより70%少なくしてください correctly. It seems like a bizarre thing to request. How would you know that your actions resulted in a 70% reduction? (that's a rhetorical question. It's why I think the request sounds bizarre).

  2. The final sentence baffles me. I'm sure I'll kick myself but I read it as " ...so we can end the state of emergency early by having requested last spring." I cannot think of any sensible meaning/translation of 去年の春もお願いしたことで.

  3. Is やめる in the last sentence 止める or is it the potential form of 止む. I'm rather less familiar with the usage of 止む, but the potential form seems to fit better with the sentence.

Edit

Well I think I figured out that it means "so we can end the state of emergency early by doing the things that we also asked you to do last spring.", but is this really natural Japanese or is it oversimplified? It feels like there's a をして missing at the very least.

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I was typing this out as a comment, but I wanted to cite a dictionary source, so I decided to put it in an answer instead.

  1. I read 「会社に行く人をいつもより70%少なくしてください」 as a request in general terms, like a call on the public and companies to help achieve that goal.

  2. I interpret 「去年の春もお願いしたことで」 as something along the lines of "We have asked this of the public last spring" or "As early as last spring, we made the same request"

  3. Isn't「止む」intransitive/自動詞? I don't think the 「やめる」here is the 可能形 of「止む」. For usages of 「止む」, goo 辞書 gives:

1 風・雨・雪など、自然現象の動きがなくなる。「夕立が―・む」「風が―・む」

2 続いていたことがとまる。物事にきまりがつく。終わる。「騒動が―・む」「銃声が―・む」「死して後 (のち) ―・む」

3 高まった感情や病気などがおさまる。
「わたつみの海に出でたる飾磨 (しかま) 川絶えむ日にこそ吾 (あ) が恋―・まめ」〈万・三六〇五〉

With 「早くやめるため」, I see it as a plain 「やめる」, "to put an end to something". I am not sure why you thought otherwise.

Curiously enough though, there is an extra entry under 「止む」:

[動マ下二]「や(止)める」の文語形。

This is where I am out of my depth. I am not sure if this is related. Doesn't seem so to me though.

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You should split the sentence like this:

「会社に行く人をいつもより70%少なくしてください。去年の春もお願いしたことです。緊急事態宣言を早くやめるためです。」

「(これは、)去年の春もお願いしたことです。」 means "This(=会社に行く人を70%減らすこと) is what we also requested last spring."

「(これは、)緊急事態宣言を早くやめるためです。」 means "This is for the purpose of ending the state of emergency as early as possible."

この「~をやめる」は、普通の「~を[止]{や}める」です。「終わらせる」"end~" の意味です。

や・める【▽止める・▼已める】〘他下一〙
❶ それまで続けてきた行為・動作・状態などを終わりにする。
「酒[販売]をやめる」「仕事[練習]をやめてお茶にする」⇔続ける
(明鏡国語辞典)

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    How would you know that your actions resulted in a 70% reduction? 「会社に行く人を70%少なく」は、会社・企業に、70%をテレワークにしてくれって言ってるんじゃないですかね?
    – Chocolate
    Jan 19 '21 at 1:30

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