Japanese Minister Noda Suspected of Having Coronavirus

Politics

Tokyo, April 1 (Jiji Press)--Seiko Noda, Japanese minister in charge of measures against the declining birthrate, is suspected of having the novel coronavirus, government officials said Friday.

Noda was absent from the day's cabinet meeting and has canceled all of her duties for the day, including a news conference. If she is confirmed positive, this would be the first case of a Japanese cabinet minister infected with the virus.

She took a simple antigen test for COVID-19 Friday morning because she had a slight fever, and tested positive. Noda will take a polymerase chain reaction test to determine whether she is infected, the officials said.

The cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has decided to send Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi to Poland as his special envoy over the Ukraine crisis instead of Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa, who could be designated as a close contact of one of more members of his family infected with the virus. Hayashi is slated to leave for Poland on Friday afternoon.

Furukawa tested negative Friday morning, and will return to work as early as the beginning of next week if his condition remains stable, according to the Justice Ministry.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press