Japan sees a surge in COVID-19 cases, Abe’s approval ratings sink

Tokyo reported more than 200 new daily cases for the eighth consecutive day

japan-tokyo-escalator-masks-covid-19-reuters People wearing protective masks ride an escalator amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Tokyo, Japan August 3, 2020. REUTERS

Japan’s tally of virus infections is shooting up faster than ever. The country recorded 1,240 new coronavirus cases and six virus-related deaths on Tuesday. This leads the national total of the virus cases to 41,841 cases and 1,035 deaths.

Support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the meantime is sinking to new lows.

It is the eighth consecutive day that that Tokyo has recorded more than 200 new daily cases. As Japan’s public fears that the nation might be sitting on a time bomb, Abe’s approval slid to a record low of 35.4 per cent in a poll published by JNN (Japan News Network) on Monday. More than 60 per cent pollers said Abe should declare a second state of emergency to bring infections under control -- something his ministers have rejected.

Two-thirds of Tokyo’s cases have been untraceable. Cases have been surging in Osaka too, worrying local politicians. The governor of Kanagawa prefecture, which neighbours Tokyo, said he expected the rise in Tokyo cases to spread into his prefecture, a CNN report reads.After years of consolidating power, Abe may be starting to let go; it seems like he’s letting potential successors vie for attention before his term as party leader ends in September. 2021. 

Japan has been seeing a resurgence in cases in the wake of what may be said as a hasty re-opening of the economy, as the government sought to save struggling businesses.