On Friday night, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga found himself standing behind the same lectern where, just 36 days prior, he had announced that the nation’s second COVID-19 state of emergency would be lifted. But now, as he called a third emergency, he was reneging on a pledge that there wouldn’t be another one on his watch.

“I told you that I’d do everything I could to ensure that there wouldn’t be another state of emergency, so I apologize from the bottom of my heart for doing so and causing inconvenience to so many people,” Suga told a news conference that saw him attempt to evade responsibility for the new measures, blaming them instead on virulent new strains of COVID-19 that dramatically drove up case numbers in Osaka, Tokyo, Hyogo and Kyoto prefectures.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.