Attendance to Meetings of Prime Minister’s Secretary Brings Covid to His Office | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Attendance to Meetings of Prime Minister’s Secretary Brings Covid to His Office

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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.

President Biden after dinner with PM Kishida at Happoen on May 23On May 24, I rang Secretary H’s cell phone and asked him about such concerns and the string of infected people in his local office.

–In mid-May, I heard that Mr. H had contracted corona.

 H: “Yes. Um, it is true that he was infected.

–How is he feeling now?

 ‘He was almost asymptomatic (and has now recovered).’

–Did Mr. H’s infection lead to the spread of infection to his colleagues in the local office?

 Mr. H.: “That is not for us to determine, but for the public health center. We have not heard anything from the public health center (about the possibility of Mr. H being the source of the infection).


–Did Mrs. Yuko and Mr. Shotaro become infected when they visited the local office and did they bring the virus back to Prime Minister Kishida?

 Whether or not (Mrs. Yuko and Mr. Shoutarou and others) were close contacts is a matter for the public health center to decide.

–Are they not considered close contacts?

 No, they are not.

In a written interview, Kishida’s office said that he refrains from responding to matters concerning individual privacy regarding the four people, including his secretary, who was infected.

Speaking of Kishida and corona, he had a bitter experience last July, when five secretaries who attended a political fundraiser for his faction were infected after the party. One wonders what lesson will be written in Kishida’s notebook about the second cluster fiasco in two consecutive years.

  • Photo Takeshi Kinugawa (Prime Minister Kishida) Shinji Hasuo (President Biden)

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