During her March 25 news conference, which was held to address a sudden increase in COVID-19 cases in the capital, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike used visual aids and a script filled with foreign loanwords to convince residents that they should stay at home so as to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Koike’s use of English words such as “lockdown” was completely in character. A former TV newsreader fluent in English, the governor often uses so-called loanwords in public.

Defense Minister Taro Kono, also fluent in English, tweeted concern several days earlier that too much of the discussion of the coronavirus emergency included these foreign words that meant nothing to most Japanese, insisting that public officials use appropriate Japanese terms instead.

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