Suga Apologizes for Lawmakers' Visits to Bars under Emergency

Politics

Tokyo, Jan. 27 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga apologized Wednesday for senior ruling coalition lawmakers' visits to bars offering hospitality services in Tokyo's posh Ginza district after 8 p.m. during a novel coronavirus state of emergency.

"I am very sorry. (Lawmakers) should behave in a way that gains the public's understanding," Suga said at a meeting of the House of Councillors Budget Committee in response to a question by Eri Tokunaga, a lawmaker of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

Jun Matsumoto, acting parliamentary affairs chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and Kiyohiko Toyama, acting secretary-general of the LDP's coalition partner, Komeito, separately visited the bars and other places after 8 p.m. this month at a time when citizens were requested by the government not to go out after the time for nonessential purposes under the state of emergency, which covers Tokyo and 10 prefectures.

Shukan Shincho and Shukan Bunshun weekly magazines have reported the visits in their electronic editions. Matsumoto and Toyama both acknowledged the visits and apologized to reporters Tuesday.

Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Kazuyoshi Akaba, a Komeito member, said at the Upper House committee: "This should not happen. As a senior member of the party, I want to give him (Toyama) strict guidance."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press