Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga apologized on Wednesday after lawmakers from his ruling administration attended night clubs despite his government’s request for people to avoid unnecessary outings to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The news is another mess for Suga whose support rating has dropped due to dissatisfaction with his handling of the pandemic, which critics have called too slow and inconsistent.
“I’m terribly sorry that this happened when we are asking people not to eat out after 8 pm and to avoid non-essential, non-urgent outings,” Suga told parliament. “Each lawmaker should behave to gain the public’s understanding.” He added.
Japan this month declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas to check a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases. The measure covers a request for restaurants and bars to close by 8 pm although there are currently no penalties for non-compliance.
Few of the lawmakers who visited the night clubs also apologized. “My behavior was careless at a time when we are asking people to be patient,” Jun Matsumoto, a senior lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters.