News organizations in Japan had a field day last month, calling out politicians who were caught violating COVID-19 restrictions. Shigeru Omi, the head of the government panel appointed to address the pandemic, had asked the public not to assemble indoors in groups of more than four people, a significant demand given that December is traditionally when people get together in large groups to talk loudly while drinking copious amounts of alcohol.

A Jan. 3 report in Harbor Business Online listed a number of instances where lawmakers ignored these guidelines and then, when asked about it by the press, brushed aside any responsibility for breaking the public’s trust. The most widely covered of these events was a get-together at a swanky steak restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood on Dec. 14 hosted by ruling Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai and attended by a total of 8 celebrities and politicians, including Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, whose explanation afterward was that he simply dropped in to say hello.

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