"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] [COVID-19] Press Conference by the Prime Minister on the current state of infections

[Date] February 1, 2021
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Full text]

(On the current situation regarding the novel coronavirus disease)

While we see a declining trend in the number of new cases, we recognize the need to maintain vigilance for the time being. With respect to the declaration of the state of emergency, we intend to make a decision after considering the outcome of the discussions by the experts at the meeting of the Subcommittee on Novel Coronavirus Disease Control convening tomorrow.

(On the dismissal of State Minister Tanose and efforts to restore confidence in politicians)

Despite being subject to the declaration of the state of emergency, State Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Tanose went dining until late at night and did not clarify the matter until today. In response to this, I dismissed him. Also, the Liberal Democratic Party called on Representative Matsumoto, Representative Otsuka, and Representative Tanose to leave the party, and these three representatives did then leave the party. At the same time, during this time in which we are asking the citizens to bear tremendous burdens, we politicians must ourselves straighten up, and in that regard, this incident was extremely regrettable. I once again express my apology to the citizens.

(On extending the declaration of the state of emergency)

As I said at the beginning of my remarks just now, while there is a declining trend in the number of new cases, as you yourselves are also aware from the series of announcements, we consider it necessary to stay vigilant. In any case, we will respond in accordance with the decision taken at the meeting of the expert subcommittee tomorrow.

(On the prime minister's own attendance at receptions)

I feel very sorry about my attendance at receptions.

(On the dismissal of State Minister Tanose)

A declaration of a state of emergency is in effect. Despite that, he behaved in such a manner and then did not disclose it until today. I made my decision based on those factors.

(On the Minister Sakamoto dining out)

My understanding is that he went dining while staying observant of the relevant rules.

(Additional question on extending the state of emergency)

As I have already said repeatedly, we will consider the matter in light of the decision taken at the expert subcommittee convening tomorrow.

(On the recent response made at the Diet by former Prime Minister Abe)

I believe former Prime Minister Abe apologized during the recent committee session.

(On the timing at which the prime minister learned of the three representatives dining out)

It was today.