Surprise, criticism abound among Japan public over Suga’s resignation
Written by tokyoclub on September 4, 2021
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s sudden announcement of his intention to resign at a time when the country is battling a resurgence of COVID-19 infections was met Friday with surprise and criticism by many people in Japan, with medical workers lamenting his slow and inadequate response to fight the virus.
“I thought he would stay on (as prime minister) a little longer,” said a 35-year-old female nurse in Sapporo on the northernmost main island of Hokkaido, who was among those caught off guard by Suga’s abrupt announcement.
Suga’s intent to step down came amid strong public criticism over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Delta variant rapidly spreading across the country and now 21 out of Japan’s 47 prefectures under COVID state of emergency.
He was also criticized for going ahead with the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics despite public opposition amid mounting concerns over the spread of the virus.
“Japan lagged behind in securing and distributing vaccines, and the Suga administration did not provide any information (about it),” said Yasuhiko Hirata, chairman of the medical association of Fukuoka city in southwestern Japan.
“If (Suga’s government) is going to pursue vaccination policies, I wish he could have better handled the vaccinations rather than (going ahead in) holding the Olympics,” said Haruka Honda, 34, who was at a vaccination site for young people in Tokyo’s Shibuya district.