Japan Faces Criticisms over Coronavirus Responses

Politics

Tokyo, Feb. 19 (Jiji Press)--Japanese government officials are jittery in the face of criticisms over government measures against the outbreak of infections with the new COVID-19 coronavirus originating in China.

Border controls taken at the initiative of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe failed to prevent the spread of infections in Japan. Some claim that the government's decision to keep passengers on the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship at the port of Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, exacerbated group infections onboard.

Anxiety about the "unknown infectious disease" has been casting a shadow over public approval ratings for the Abe cabinet, raising a sense of crisis inside the government and the ruling coalition led by Abe's Liberal Democratic Party.

At a joint meeting of opposition party members held Tuesday to discuss countermeasures against the viral outbreak, Kenta Izumi, policy chief of the Democratic Party for the People, criticized the government's responses. "The government failed at border measures by trying to downplay the situation," he said.

Tokyo initially decided to conduct virus tests on only people with fever, records of traveling to China's Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, or contact with those who stayed in Wuhan.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press