Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday apologised after two ruling coalition lawmakers violated the stay at home order by visiting hostess bars in Tokyo.
“I offer a sincere apology (for their outings). We have asked the public to refrain from going out,’’ Suga said at an upper house budget committee meeting.
A resurgence of Coronavirus infections prompted Suga’s government to impose a state of emergency for Tokyo and its three neighbouring prefectures earlier in January.
It requests that residents avoid outings and that bars and restaurants close by 8 p.m. (1100 GMT).
The measure was expanded to 11 prefectures six days later.
Ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Jun Matsumoto visited two hostess bars in Tokyo’s Ginza district at midnight, Daily Shincho reported.
Komeito lawmaker, Kiyohiko Toyama also went to another upscale hostess bar in Ginza on Friday, according to Weekly Bunshun.
Both Matsumoto and Toyama had apologised for their behaviour.
Suga himself apologised in December after coming under fire for attending two gatherings, including a dinner at a pricey steak restaurant with seven other people.
Suga, who took office in September following his predecessor Shinzo Abe’s abrupt resignation for health reasons, saw his approval rating continue to drop as the government has failed to rein in a third wave of coronavirus infections.
A recent Kyodo News survey showed the approval rate for Suga’s cabinet stood at 41.3 per cent, down by nine percentage points from its December poll.