Minister Backs Suga's Dining with Many People


Tokyo, Dec. 16 (Jiji Press)--Japanese economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura on Wednesday defended Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga over a series of dinner sessions he held with many people amid the resurgence of coronavirus cases.

"The government is not necessarily banning dining with five or more people," Nishimura, who is in charge of the government's coronavirus response, told a parliamentary meeting.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Nishimura called for avoiding dining for many hours and with many people as much as possible, while noting that dining with five or more people accounts for over 80 pct of infection cluster cases involving meals.

At Wednesday's parliamentary meeting, Nishimura asked people to take thorough infection prevention measures when necessary to have meals with many people, calling for selecting restaurants with acrylic shields and other protective steps in place.

Suga's series of recent meetings with experts and business leaders to hear their opinions have drawn criticism from members of both ruling and opposition parties as some of the gatherings were with many people.

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