There may be a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose reputation as a capable leader is on the line. Abe’s approach to combating the coronavirus has been viewed unfavorably compared to the responses by leaders in Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and even Italy and the United States, where widespread testing, social distancing and lockdowns are underway.

As coronavirus cases in Japan mounted, early opposition fault-finding with Abe gave way to general excoriation of his leadership.

Abe’s critics — including Yoichi Masuzoe, the former health minister and Tokyo governor — have described his response as clumsy and politicized, while his administration has been accused of allowing medical professionals to run short on essential supplies and not moving faster to postpone the Olympics.