Night Party Participants at Health Ministry Contract COVID-19

Politics

Tokyo, April 8 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese health ministry said Thursday three of the 23 ministry workers who came under fire for holding a late-night farewell party last month have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

On March 24, the 23 workers, who all belonged to the Division of the Health for the Elderly at the ministry's Health and Welfare Bureau for the Elderly at the time, including the then division head, gathered at an "izakaya" Japanese-style pub in Tokyo.

The party ran from around 7:15 p.m. to 11:50 p.m., even though the Tokyo metropolitan government was requesting restaurants and bars in the Japanese capital back then to close by 9 p.m. as a measure against the coronavirus.

Over the party, which was held at a time when the ministry was asking people to accept restrictions in their daily lives amid the pandemic, the ministry, on March 30, punished the then division head with a pay cut of 10 pct for one month and moved the official to the health minister's Secretariat.

Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Norihisa Tamura said he will voluntarily return his pay as a cabinet minister over the issue.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press