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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday that his wife, Akie, did not attend a cherry blossom viewing party in Tokyo despite calls to refrain from outdoor gathering to help contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Abe made the remarks during Friday's session of the Upper House Budget Committee, answering a question about a magazine report that said his wife went out to enjoy the cherry blossoms at a Tokyo park earlier this month when the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's request for restraint was already in place.

The report, published in the online edition of the Shukan Post (Weekly Post), carried a photo of Akie Abe and other people who appear to be under a cherry tree.

Abe said his wife told him that the photo showed her under a cherry tree on the premises of a restaurant where she met with acquaintances.

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