Prime Minister Kishida is always in the wrong place at the wrong time.On May 12, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attended a meeting with the Health, Labor, and Welfare Committee of the House of Councillors. When asked by an opposition lawmaker whether he would relax wearing masks as a measure against infection, Prime Minister Kishida replied, “The government thinks that it is not realistic at this stage.”
The government believes that this is not a reality at this stage.
Only 10 days after this answer, the government revised its guidelines for countermeasures against the new coronavirus, specifically indicating cases in which masks can be removed outdoors. Japan, lagging behind Europe and the United States, has finally taken a step against the new normal, but infections have peaked in Mr. Kishida’s local office in the city of Hiroshima.
The local office is run by six secretaries, and in mid-May, four of them were found to be infected with corona. This caused the local office to be in a state of paralysis as shared by an official with the Hiroshima Prefectural Federation of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Those who tested positive for corona were secretary H, who is in her 60s and is a watchdog, secretary S, who is a veteran of the same age group, secretary M, who is in her 20s, and a female administrative staff member. The first infected person, secretary H, was found to have a fever around May 14 and underwent a PCR test at a medical institution, which confirmed her infection. The infected then spread one after another, and Secretary H and Secretary M also showed symptoms such as fever. A person involved with the Hiroshima Prefectural Federation of Trade Unions continued, “H. Kishida, who is protecting Prime Minister Kishida’s hometown, was infected with a fever.”
A source close to the Hiroshima Prefectural Federation of Trade Unions continued, “Secretary H, who protects Prime Minister Kishida’s hometown, used to attend meetings with people from the business world and supporters’ associations in the evenings before the corona outbreak, building a relationship of trust with them. Even just before he contracted corona this time, he attended several meetings. However, some have pointed out the inadequacies of Mr. H’s and his office’s handling of the situation, such that he did not inform those in attendance who are his close contacts after the corona infection was discovered.” To which Kishida’s office responded in a written interview, that they have contacted the health department and immediately informed the concentrated contacts.
On the other hand, if coronavirus is spreading widely in his hometown, one would think that Mr. Kishida’s health would be a concern. In particular, in late May, a Quad summit meeting of the four countries, Japan, the U.S., Australia, and India, was scheduled before U.S. President Joe Biden visited Japan. Since diplomatic negotiations with foreign dignitaries were to continue, the risk of infection, even in the unlikely event of an outbreak, must have been a cause for concern.
According to the Prime Minister’s official minutes, Mr. Kishida has not entered Hiroshima since the beginning of May. However, it is possible that Mrs. Yuko, who lives with him at the prime minister’s official residence, and his eldest son Shotaro, who supports his official duties as secretary, may have visited the local office and infected Mr. Kishida from there.