• Jiji


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to find it difficult to move ahead with his summer holiday plans, at a time when Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike is asking Tokyo residents to refrain from leaving the Japanese capital to visit their parents’ homes during the country’s Bon holiday period amid the coronavirus epidemic.

As the central government is not making such a request, Abe initially planned to pay a grave visit in his constituency in Yamaguchi Prefecture and attend a local fireworks event on Thursday this week, just like he does in normal years.

But the prime minister was forced to abandon this plan, due to the governor’s stay-in-Tokyo request, which followed a resurgence in coronavirus infections in Tokyo.

It seems likely that Abe would come under fire if he leaves Tokyo in the current circumstances.

Abe had already given up a plan to visit his holiday home in Yamanashi Prefecture during the four-day weekend in July, when the governor was calling for avoiding nonessential travel outside the capital.

His holiday plans are “always interrupted by Koike,” an aide to the prime minister said.

Abe is aiming to visit the holiday home after Japan’s war-end anniversary on Saturday, according to his aides. “The prime minister is exhausted by a barrage of criticism,” including for his administration’s response to the epidemic, one of them said.

But he is also believed to be hesitating to make the holiday visit. “Such a luxurious vacation could provoke a backlash from the people,” said a veteran lawmaker of the ruling liberal Democratic Party.

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