National / Politics

Abe criticized as tone deaf after lounge-at-home Twitter video

REUTERS, JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has seen an angry response from some Twitter users after sharing a video Sunday of himself lounging on a sofa with his dog, drinking tea and reading, with a message telling people to stay at home.

“Who do you think you are?” became a top trend on Twitter, with users saying Abe’s message ignored the plight of those struggling to make a living during the coronavirus outbreak.

Abe’s video, which featured his pet dog, was a response to popular musician Gen Hoshino, who uploaded a video of himself singing about dancing indoors and invited people to collaborate.

“At a time when people are fighting for survival, to show a video of such luxury … one can’t help but wonder, ‘who do you think you are?'” one Twitter user said.

Other Twitter users defended Abe, saying that even the prime minister should be allowed down time.

The song featured in the video, “Uchide Odoro” (“Let’s dance at home”), has gone viral amid widespread efforts among the public to stay home and curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Abe’s tweet included the comment, “You can’t meet friends or have drinking parties. But actions like yours are definitely helping to save many lives.”

Yoshiko Kira, an Upper House lawmaker from the Japanese Communist Party, tweeted, “I can see very well that the prime minister does not at all understand the hardships ordinary people are facing.”

Abe is “elegantly hugging his dog and drinking tea on a luxurious sofa while many citizens are worrying about tomorrow,” another Twitter user said.

At a news conference Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Abe released the video because he sympathizes with Hoshino.

“I hope the message will reach many citizens,” Suga added.

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