politics

Suga defends boost for domestic tourism amid virus surge

47 Comments
By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Ju-min Park

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47 Comments
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Touching on hopes of building a "stronger alliance" with the United States, Suga said he wanted to meet U.S. President-elect Joe Biden as soon as possible.

Following in the footsteps of Abe. Gotta be first in line to kiss the ring!

16 ( +22 / -6 )

Photo shows a strike by medical workers (they chose a great time, eh?) while article is about Suga's stance on the GoTo travel campaign and stimulus package. Not sure what the connection is.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

So, the implication is that the virus is not that much of a problem here in Japan the ?

8 ( +12 / -4 )

JeffLee

You are right. The picture was employed to support the story despite the demonstration was not intended to protest hardships involving them because of COVID-19. The labor unions are protesting about the rationalization of public hospitals in Japan. They might have thought foreigners could not understand slogans written in Japanese.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

@JeffLee

Photo shows a strike by medical workers (they chose a great time, eh?) while article is about Suga's stance on the GoTo travel campaign and stimulus package. Not sure what the connection is.

Umm, the connection is this part of the article:

"Some doctors have said the government is not doing enough to curb the virus spread, but focusing on promoting economic activities. They say the medical system is strained and that there are not enough beds for COVID-19 patients."

11 ( +13 / -2 )

JeffLee: "Not sure what the connection is."

It's pretty clear what the connection is, given that the article is about people opposing the Go To campaign, and health workers being people and all.

In any case, English articles about Suga and the extension of the campaign amid the highest ever infection rate and death toll are pretty scathing and are spreading around the international media, so I think it'll be the usual embarrassment that may cause the eventual correct steps to be taken. Remember, it was only a week or so ago that he went 180 in the same day on the subject, so him defending himself here will likely also do the same.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Suga is the archetype of tanoshikunai Japan. A sour looking Abe without any convincing bluster.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

pour some suga on me

sometimes a pun is all you need to cheer people up on a rainy morning

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Cart before the horse. Putting a priority on local economies over pandemic control is simply further reducing the odds of a 2021 Olympics happening. If it happens at all.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Suga is crazy. Encouraging people to travel during a pandemic is pure insanity. Yes...he is right the program helps small businesses however it should be temporarily suspended. Use some of the money earmarked for the Olympics to help the small businesses ride through this. Restart the program when things calm down. Refund money to those who have spent on the program or allow full application to future travel. It is not a complex issue.

On the other hand my state of birth, California in the U.S., is going to the other extreme. Garcetti in LA is banning all forms of travel including walking and bicycling. London Breed in San Francisco, who attended a dinner at the French Laundry on a different night than Gavin Newsom has locked down San Francisco.

There are two extremes here.....we need someone with common sense to back a middle ground. These people do not seem to exist in the political world.

Does sanity among the political class exist anywhere anymore?

17 ( +18 / -1 )

@TOKYO-ENGR 

One issue with your point.... you being far too logical mate.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Since the economy is 60% domestic driven, instead of supporting big Buisness ( they have cash reserves up the wazzo) wouldn't it be best to spend the money say giving everyone the equilivent of a parliamentary salery for one month and saying stay at home? Economy will be fine, virus stymied and people will realise how stupidity is rewarded with huge monthly tax payer funded handouts. Don't see a down side.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Politics is about the pursuit of power.

That is why, those in government continually mismanage countries-they do not know how to.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

But he added that the government's "biggest responsibility is to protect people's "lives and livelihoods", which is why the campaign had been halted in two cities, and elderly people had been discouraged from travelling to and from Tokyo, where cases have risen sharply.

One of the greatest dangers of this virus is, impacting the ability of some people to think correctly. Only a fool will believe the above,

15 ( +15 / -0 )

But he added that the government's "biggest responsibility is to protect people's "lives and livelihoods", which is why the campaign had been halted in two cities, and elderly people had been discouraged from travelling to and from Tokyo, where cases have risen sharply.

And the government has done a very poor job of protecting people's lives and livelihoods once you get past the political cronies, Dentsu execs and well placed bureaucrats.

Suga's gratest talent and contribution seems to be in mouthing meaningless cliches.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

*greatest

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Stayed Thursday night in a GoTo hotel. It was very clean, lots of safety rules and staff so happy to have jobs. No Osaka or Tokyo guests were permitted.

we were given ¥3000 GoTo vouchers which we could spend on supporting the local community businesses.

from the car plates, most guest were from my prefecture or neighboring one with almost no infections.

GoTo is great, but allowing foreign people to come to this island state with one of the lowest infection rates in the world is suicide.

NO Olympics!

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

Egoism is a big driver, always. Most people choose for a reduced mini holiday under Goto actually knowing they risk their lives and others but can not resist the cheaper prices.

the surge we see in infections is the expected result of the travel under the 3 day long weekend.

Suga and Koike just have no clue and doing nothing is for them personally the best way out. But I asked it last week, where is Aso ? Not like him to be absent, he is a control freak and needs that control to stop people from investigating him.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This GO Japan Travel campaign is for what? Putting a few dollars in shop owners pockets and at what cost? Really, think about the doctors and nurses who are putting their lives on the line daily to help people who fall sick with this virus and for people who choose to go out there for pleasure when they know this virus is real and ask doctors to risk their lives over their idiotic choices? Really?

Yes, Suga, needs to shake his head and end the program, however, in the same breath the same people who are traveling so they can get 3,000 coupons to go shopping should also shake their heads no one is forcing them to go out their.

People for the next year suck it up, stay home as much as possible until there is a vaccine and the numbers start dropping in the short term yeah it is not fun but in the long term we all can wake up to another morning being healthy.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

This GO Japan Travel campaign is for what? Putting a few dollars in shop owners pockets and at what cost?

Both my businesses have been closed since March. I am heavily in debt. My partner has to work part-times jobs just so we can pay the mortgage and buy food. Obviously you don’t care about normal peoples lives.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

Opinion polls show Suga's approval ratings have dipped, with many people unhappy with his handling of the pandemic since he became prime minister in September

His predecessor was bad as well, infact nobody has , no one has ever followed the 101 of a pandemic test, trace and isolate, Appearing on TV and raising and lowering emergency levels or changing lighting on bridges towers and monument has never and will never stop the spread of the virus.

Geez, there are even some very poor African countries one million times poorer than Japan that have created numerous testing stations that is free and open to the general public, anybody can walk in anytime and take a pcr without any questions, here we are told testing is taihen, it so taihen that doctors are taking swabs, something that in every other country any john and mary does. We are told how pcr testing is limited medical resource and cannot be wasted on people defeating the purpose of the test which is stopping the spread of the virus, despite the thriftiness, heavily and densily populated cities still have less than 200 icu and beds for virus patients as well as shortage of nurses despite having like 10 months to prepare and we are hearing ipaku. Ipaku ( strained, strained) medical system,

In short, not one governor has been serious mitigating the spread of this virus in their prefectures, A reality show performance will do jack to this virus.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

 stay home as much as possible until there is a vaccine

In the short term (next few month) I think it's fine to go anywhere if:

1) You got vaccinated and you have proof for that. A proof that can be verified and not bought off the Internet for $10. I don't have much hope for this, especially in a international scale.

2) We learn that a vaccinated person cannot infect others. Which we don't know yet as per Pfizer's admission. But if I had to bet on it, I'd say this is the case.

In the medium/longer term, since we know immunity lasts for a long time, herd immunity will kick in, and the virus fizzle out naturally. But this may take months since it will take a long time to vaccinate enough people, with many refusing. Likely not happening in the Olympics time frame.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Fatalities in Japan from all causes are lower in 2020 than in 2019, and far lower than 2018. By now Japan knows the risks and the potential figures for cases and fatalities, and is going forward based on these.

The consequences of lockdowns and travel restrictions outweigh the benefits.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

@Goodluck

I always enjoy your posts here.

Both my businesses have been closed since March. I am heavily in debt.

I am sorry your businesses have been impacted. I believe the Go To Travel idea is a good idea however it is foolish to continue it now. I think it is best to delay and restart the program once things calm down.

Stayed Thursday night in a GoTo hotel. It was very clean, lots of safety rules and staff so happy to have jobs. No Osaka or Tokyo guests were permitted.

we were given ¥3000 GoTo vouchers which we could spend on supporting the local community businesses.

It is very nice that in spite of your heavy debt and loss of businesses that you can travel. There are many in Japan (including some posting here) who cannot afford to do so now. I hope your creditors are also being paid back as well and things will improve for you.

allowing foreign people to come to this island state with one of the lowest infection rates in the world is suicide.

I believe it is quite obvious that the current domestic transmission of the virus in Japan cannot be blamed on foreigners. Perhaps it is returning Japanese who are the problem? There are many of us who live here who find such posts xenophobic and racist. We do understand your feelings though which likely reflect the current government but certainly not most of the Japanese population.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

In short, not one governor has been serious mitigating the spread of this virus in their prefectures

This is not America, which is a federation of states. In Japan, prefectures have very little power to do anything. In America this works against it in a pandemic situation, since no single person (e.g. the President) can make a nationwide mandate accept for a very narrow set of laws, none of which apply to public health.

Japan, since the central government has almost all the power, could have a nationwide policy, if they wanted to. You cannot blame the governors for the lack of this.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

By now Japan knows the risks and the potential figures for cases and fatalities, and is going forward based on these.

But didn't know there will be a 2nd wave and the virus will spread when the cold season sets in. Everybody knew it except Japan hence the unpreparedness we are witnessing now.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It is very nice that in spite of your heavy debt and loss of businesses that you can travel.

My partner works very hard and as you can imagine, in the hospitals it is very stressful. We both need a break.

The very good hotel was ¥10000 for two people. Free parking so our dog can be in the car. Very good Onsen baths which We had to ourselves. Included buffet breakfast was totally amazing. So for us, saving ¥3000 for breakfast, ¥1200 for bath, and ¥3000 GoTo vouchers, I feel that it was very reasonable and provided employment in a safe clean environment for at least 30 staff.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

"some medical groups and experts say has fueled a third wave of coronavirus cases,"

There is no evidence to support this theory. Consider what is happening in the world. Germany, South Korea, France and all of the Northern Hemisphere countries are experiencing an uptick in cases as well. The most likely cause of the third wave is the weather is turning cold and people are staying indoors without proper ventilation. Suga should have made this point.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Zoroto

This is not America, which is a federation of states. In Japan, prefectures have very little power to do anything.

I beg to differ, I wasn't talking of a lockdown as I am not a proponent of one and know that neither the central of prefectures have the powers. Every prefecture and city has a budget and won't need clearance from the central gov't to increase testing, trace and isolate the infected, infrastructural as well as human preparedness. Nobody is calling for testing of the entire population but at least one would expect mandatory and regular testing of elderly care workers if there is concern about the elderly which is not the case. Telling elderly not to

move but allowing the young to come in contact with them defies common sense.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

One click and you will get a 35% discount. IT companies and website travel agencies invested millions to build up their online Go To Travel systems. And they’re good friends of Suga. So there’s no way of suspending the Go To. It has to continue no matter how many people get infected.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I reckon Go To Travel is just a blunt instrument for shoveling money at the countryside, Suga's power base.

If the concern is the working poor in the travel sector (and there are plenty of them), there are other ways to help them, some of which would help them much more directly without a 20% commission to JTB.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Does sanity among the political class exist anywhere anymore?" Politicians tend to do what the polls tell them the voters want. When they do something different, they get pilloried. Not making any apologies here, just an observation. But on occassion, the right thing to do is to act responsibly...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

iit is beyond me why people would still expect anything from any politician. It is naive and wishful thinking. A politician is by definition selfish to the sociopathic level or they would not be politicians.

A solution to all the worlds problems would be to put all politicians, lawyers and bankers in a moon rocket. But... can we do that to the moon ?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Does the Go To campaign help small businesses? Or does JTB/Dentsu funnel the money to the major chains?

In my town I notice a lot of family-owned restaurants/cafes/minshiku do not accept Go To coupons; one told me it was because the paperwork to use them is too much work. I also noticed all the big chains accept the coupons; probably because they have a section in the home office in Tokyo that does nothing but deal with government documentation.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

My parents always advise me, save for rainy days.

I do enjoy my life a lot, traveling, dining out, nice lifestyle. but always be sure to save.

In times like this it helps me to stay positive, though unable to enjoy my life as much. When business turns around life will be back to normal

No one will help you, not even the government. only you can help yourself

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It may be reasonable to suspend Goto Travel to/from certain areas, but I'm not convinced that this is the key driver of the third wave. Everyone is wearing masks on the shinkansen, mostly sitting separately, and hotels are taking all sorts of precautions (disposal gloves at buffets etc). Meanwhile, just walk past an izakaya in Tokyo and you'll see LOTS of people, sitting in close proximity with people who are not from their household, unmasked, talking.

I don't know what the correct trade-off between public health, economic well-being, and personal freedom is (and maybe there is no correct answer) but I'm struggling to believe that the Yamanote line, Shirokiya et al aren't far more important factors than GotoTravel.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is not America, which is a federation of states. In Japan, prefectures have very little power to do anything.

You have no idea of what you are talking about here. Prefectures here have more autonomy to make decisions regarding what goes on than states do in the US.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Every prefecture and city has a budget and won't need clearance from the central gov't to increase testing, trace and isolate the infected,

Where do you think they get the test kits? The central government.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

When they do something different, they get pilloried.

I suppose you don't live in Japan. In a functioning democracy, yes, that's how it works. In a de facto one-party system (like Singapore, Vietnam), it doesn't work that way. Japan, for all intents and purposes, a one-party system. Actually worse than those countries, because those other places they tend to pick talented people for leadership position, as oppose to based on family ties (e.g. Koizumi Jr).

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Prefectures here have more autonomy to make decisions regarding what goes on than states do in the US.

Where do you get this idea from? Literally on almost everything they need to consult with the central government. Read any of the articles where the prefectures announced changes to GoTo programs, for example.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

have been searching the net, can’t find any other country that subsidies mass movement! Or groups eating at restaurants! It’s more scene from a Disney movie than responsible government..

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Quote: "Giving his first news conference since a surge in coronavirus cases last month, Suga said the Go To Travel campaign to revive domestic tourism was designed to help small businesses in the hospitality sector get through tough times."

The latter day kamikaze: Go to die for the economy.

So what will Suga do when he runs out of adult Go To Travel? Will he mount a children's "go to" campaign?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This promotion for GO Japan Travel is for what? Putting a few bucks in the wallets of store owners, and at what cost? In reality, think of the doctors and nurses who put their life on the line every day to treat patients who are sick with this virus and people who want to go out there for pleasure because they realise that this virus is true and ask doctors to risk their lives.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where do you get this idea from? Literally on almost everything they need to consult with the central government. Read any of the articles where the prefectures announced changes to GoTo programs, for example.

There is no "need" if the money is prefectural. In the go to campaign, the money is national, hence the consultations. Also just because they are, doesnt mean they HAVE to consult with the national government.

HUGE difference.

Do a little research about the autonomy of prefectures here, the prefectural laws take precedence over national law, in cases where there are two of the same laws in place.

Give you a perfect example, read up on consent laws here in Japan. You will enlighten yourself to what I am talking about.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Suga government prioritizes to benefit large corporation that send political contributions to ruling party LDP than defending health and lives of people, ignores appeals from medical workers who have abandoned private life and had continued to respond Covid-19. and Suga has worsened domestic Covid-19 situation day by day.

Suga will kill people more than Abe.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Anyone who travels during this period is selfish and moronic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

stimulus package, ouhhh....... stimulate me again!!!!!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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