Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga apologized Wednesday after his ruling coalition lawmakers visited nightclubs despite his government urging people to avoid unnecessary trips to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The news is another problem for Suga, whose approval rating has dropped due to dissatisfaction with his handling of the pandemic, which critics have described as being too slow and inconsistent.
“I am terribly sorry that happened when we asked people not to eat out after 8pm and to avoid non-essential, non-urgent trips,” Suga told Parliament.
“Every legislator should act in order to gain the understanding of the public.”
Japan imposed a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas this month to tame a surge in COVID-19 cases. The measure includes an invitation to restaurants and bars to close at 8 p.m. although there are currently no penalties for violations.
“My behavior was careless at a time when we are asking people to be patient,” Jun Matsumoto, a senior lawmaker for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters.
Matsumoto spoke after a report in Daily Shincho magazine that he went to two nightclubs in Tokyo’s posh Ginza district after eating at an Italian restaurant last Monday.
Kiyohiko Toyama, a lawmaker for the coalition’s junior partner Komeito, also apologized after tabloid Shukan Bunshun reported he had been to a high-end nightclub in Ginza until late last Friday.
Twitter users expressed frustration.
“It’s only a matter of time before public anger explodes. I don’t want a 100,000 yen ($ 965) lump sum cash payment, I want them to stop!” Wrote one user.
“You are really stupid. Don’t you think about what you are doing and how the public sees you? If you don’t, you are not qualified to represent the public,” said another.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)