Prime Minister Suga apologizes for calling for an end to trade with restaurants serving alcohol in case of emergency


Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga apologizes for plans to have financial institutions and beverage wholesalers help crack down on restaurants that continue to serve alcohol during a state of emergency, at the office of the Prime Minister July 14, 2021 (Mainichi / Junichi Sasaki)

TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga apologized on July 14 following a call on beverage wholesalers to suspend trade with restaurants that refused to stop supplying alcohol in accordance with government prevention measures coronavirus, after criticism led to the request being withdrawn.

“The request has already been withdrawn, but I also want to apologize for causing a lot of trouble for so many people,” Suga told a group of reporters in his office.

As part of the COVID-19 state of emergency in effect in the capital from July 12 to August 22, restaurants and bars have been asked to refrain from serving alcohol and to close before 8 p.m.

On July 9, the government backed down from a plan announced the day before by Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of the fight against the coronavirus, to ask financial institutions to ensure that non-compliant restaurants comply with the alcohol-free rule.

Prime Minister Suga said on July 9 that he was not aware of Nishimura’s statement on the plan. Nishimura, however, told a news conference on July 13 that Suga and other officials had been notified in advance.

Opposition parties suspect Suga of being aware of the plan and intend to pursue the case.

(Japanese original by Shiho Fujibuchi and Aoi Hanazawa, Department of Political News)


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