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Globe Live Media, Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga apologized on Wednesday after lawmakers from his ruling coalition visited nightclubs despite calls by the government to avoid unnecessary outings to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The news is another headache for Suga, whose approval rating has fallen due to dissatisfaction with his handling of the pandemic, which critics have called too slow and inconsistent.
“I am very sorry that this happened when we are asking people not to go out to dinner after 8pm and to avoid non-essential and non-urgent outings,” Suga told Parliament.
Japan this month declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas to try to control the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases. The measure includes the request that restaurants and bars close at 8 in the afternoon, although at the moment there are no sanctions for non-compliance.
“My behavior was careless at a time when we asked people to be patient,” Jun Matsumoto, a senior lawmaker from the Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters.
Matsumoto was speaking following a report in the Daily Shincho magazine, according to which he had visited two nightclubs in the elegant Ginza district of Tokyo, after having dinner at an Italian restaurant on Monday.
Kiyohiko Toyama, a lawmaker for the coalition’s junior partner Komeito, also apologized after the tabloid Shukan Bunshun reported that he had been in a high-end nightclub in Ginza until late last Friday.
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