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Japan's vaccination program chief Taro Kono attends a news conference on the country's preparations to begin vaccinating health worker in Tokyo on Tuesday night. Image: REUTERS/Issei Kato

From Twitter star to vaccine czar: Taro Kono's moment in the spotlight

By Elaine Lies

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Kono San is the only person to clean up the LDP and stop the decline of Japan on the economic global rankings.

He is intelligent, speaks perfect English and I support him even if he has once, 23 years ago broken an agreement with me.

Some things are and must be bigger than self interest. I do think he should make up for that mistake but that is difficult for any politician.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

From Twitter star

Kono is choosy or narrow-minded at least on Twitter as he has blocked many accounts regardless of their credence. Some are denied access even though they have never re-tweeted or replied Kono's note.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Like many other LDP politicians, Kono believes in raising taxes to balance the budget. He’s not the man to turn the Japanese economy around.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Key words inside this article "But he would still have to run the LDP."

This is the BIGGEST problem with Japanese politics, in my opinion. The leaders of the parties are not focused on running the country, but care more about their standing in the party and "running it" rather than the country!

The people here SHOULD be first, but they arent and it shows, particularly in times like now, with the pandemic.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

He is the star of nothing! Stop brown nosing these LDP scum bags!

11 ( +15 / -4 )

What has Kono done to advance the interests of the young in Japan?

Did Kono speak out against the fossils representing the IOC in Japan?

Has Kono spoken out against the divisive tax on food and books in Japan?

How about the high costs of education which see Japanese students work half their free time at menial jobs?

Just speaking English hasn’t seen to be much help then...

8 ( +12 / -4 )

What has he done that is so amazing? Third world countries have started their vaccination programs before Japan. And now what is the Japanese government going to do? Run still more trials on some doctors and nurses before starting in earnest in March.

They could begin vaccinating all health workers now and still closely watch the 20K. Thy think they are increasing their credibility, but I think they are showing how truly incompetent and ill prepared they are to handle an urgent health crisis.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

@John Kennedy

The general excuse for current situation in Japan is, that no one expected Covid-19 and it's a new virus. Well, D'oh! At it's always like this when new, unexpected situations occur.

This is how it works here:

1) We make up various tests with our rules (so it's always great success), reports, reports of reports, Excel sheets.

2) We release the results, which are as expected. Doesn't matter that it was because we set our rules in order to have successful results

3) Something unexpected happens. We don't know how to react, because we were not prepared for this (because 1) ).

4) Let's wait a bit, run around in panic with a poker face

5) Make press conference, throw leaflets, brochures and other nonsense at people and try to overwhelm them with garbage informations and other noise

6) Wait for Deus Ex Machina

2 ( +4 / -2 )

We - NIHONJIN - like what he is doing.

Getting the job done fast.

Keep up to good work Kono!

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

My mother in the UK had her vaccination last month, in January.

In Japan, my wife is a frontline worker and those people have been chosen to be first in line to check for side effects from the various vaccines.

Guess what?

She has no idea when vaccines will be delivered to her hospital or when she will be taking the needle.

Japan is still stuck way behind!

Even PM Suga hasn’t appeared on the news with his sleeve rolled up.

When that does happen though, expect your vaccine to be 2-3 months away...

6 ( +9 / -3 )

He is intelligent, speaks perfect English and I support him even if he has once, 23 years ago broken an agreement with me.

Which agreement was that?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Some in the LDP feel he is too young, given the average age since 2000 for premiers to take office is roughly 62

Yeah at 58 years he is obviously too green still for some moronic people.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Like many other LDP politicians, Kono believes in raising taxes to balance the budget. He’s not the man to turn the Japanese economy around.

Funny, if that comment and conclusion were made in the US context it’d be quite unpopular here on JT.

Balancing Japan’s budget could be done by slashing and shrinking the role of government in Japan (which I personally would support) but I can’t see any politically viable (in Japan) approach that doesn’t involve further tax hikes, in addition to some spending cuts.

But my base case is that eventually action is forced upon the government by market forces, rather than it and the voters getting their act together and dealing with the issues preemptively.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In recent weeks, Kono, 58, has used Twitter to publish videos on vaccine safety,

Who was behind the decision to spend tax money on Phizer vaccine for everyone in Japan when only 60% will take it.

Smells of brown envelopes. He’s the vaccine czar, maybe he knows who bought certain stock market shares recently.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Robert: How can you be so Naive. Each one of your sections requires a fax machine to be used before moving to the next section.

And where is the Mascot to help us understand the situation. Boy oh boy, you must only have been here a month or so!

lol....just teasing!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

SandyBeachHeavenToday 12:16 pm JST

I deeply bow few times in front of you and apologize for my ignorance. I obviously haven't learned anything in the 30 years here because I forgot the fax machine and also hanko!! Print out the excel sheet, put hanko on it, fax it, the receiver puts their hanko on it and someone makes a report of this (with hanko).

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So we all should praise Kono because he's less old than most of the living fossils and because he's capable to speak English?

Let me see,in 2021 English is lingua Franca and spoken widely by almost every person in the industrialized countries and most politicians like in Germany Sweden Taiwan etc are capable to strike a normal conversation in English.

Truth is that he's an ultra conservative right winger willing to play the game of his old masters.

Kono isn't better than Koizumi Jr.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Where do they find these guys?

Kono, Abe, Aso, Suga, Mori, take your pick. A dime a gross.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Thomas Goodtime@

Sorry about that, my bad.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We - NIHONJIN - like what he is doing.

And you speak for all Nihonjins, do you?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

More likable and capable than the current PM in my opinion

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

natsu823Today 09:54 am JST

We - NIHONJIN - like what he is doing.

Getting the job done fast.

Keep up to good work Kono!

No, We - NIHONJIN - not like what he is doing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

He might be a star on Twitter, but for many like me who do not use Twitter, his star status will depend of his achievements and the coverage from the mainstream medias. His only achievement that comes to my mind, was the “getaway from hankos”. This has been quite followed by some administrations. For me, he looks quite honest compare to Suga, Kato and Nishimura.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Translated from words we would use in my home country for cases like this....Kono was intentionally placed by Suga into the ejection seat. lol

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kono latest update in his role as COVID-19 vaccine minister... https://twitter.com/konotaromp/status/1362181078706839553?s=19

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Japan's recently appointed vaccine czar, Taro Kono, is having a breakout moment."

Thanks to PM Suga, who gave Kono the post. PM Suga is a great leader for Japan. He knew that Kono would get the spotlight, but Suga didn't care. Suga cared more about that the people of Japan understood the importance of the Covid vaccine and that the vaccine rollout go as smoothly as possible. He did not care about his own ego but cared about the people of Japan.

Well done PM Suga and team Japan!!!!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Lots of nationalist LDP apple polishers on here!

Team Japan? Team ossan you mean ?

Team Cronyism?

Get it right and get down off ya blind nationalistic chair.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Robert: My apologies too. Forgot the Hanko/Inken

I have two. But 37 years got me that privilege. But no more fax machine.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Forgot the Hanko/Inken, I have two. But 37 years got me that privilege.

Why does “37 years” get you the “privilege” of/to two hankos? I’ve been here over half that time and had two hankos - for over two decades!

Hankos can be bought at ¥100/Daiso stores.

Or did you not know that?

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I didn’t say the other was ‘legal.’ As I wrote, hankos can be picked up at Daiso.

I am still waiting to hear why ‘37 years’ entitles the ‘privilege’ of having two, but I somehow doubt I will get a response.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks Zichi. I wanted to clarify as well.

My ‘extra’ hanko was (mainly) used for indicating attendance at a former workplace.

I am still curious why ‘37 years’ ‘privileges’ someone to another hanko, though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you’re a skeptic, I would consider giving Kono Taro a chance. You have to realize that Japan is essentially a one party state right now. Whoever is the LDP president, is gonna be the PM. That means the LDP is able to select a leader who espouses their views as opposed to the Japanese as a whole. Kono Taro is essentially trying to reform the LDP from within. He needs to first become PM before we judge, and even then, he has to maintain a delicate balance of appeasing the various LDP factions, while also instituting changes he wishes to see in Japanese society. Also we have already seen that he has taken a differing view on certain issues. And reporting has indicated that he has different views on other issues but doesn’t publicize so he doesn’t create too many enemies from within. Honestly, look throughout the LDP, who else has a more viable shot at becoming PM, while also being a potential vehicle for positive change?? No one. Honestly, I was a major fan of the Democratic Party of Japan, but they really dropped the ball. They were inexperienced, disorganized, and were in power during one of the worst crises ever faced by Japan. Until another party can legitimately challenge the LDP, Kono Taro is the best choice for PM at this moment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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