Kyodo reported on a finding that the GOJ chose to not keep minutes of discussions by public health experts on a subcommittee of the GOJ coronavirus taskforce, arguing that without such documents it is not possible to properly evaluate the GOJ’s responses to the outbreak since they have been based largely on recommendations and insights by panel members. Since its inception in February, the panel has reportedly met 14 times to analyze the situation and come up with a range of measures for containment, such as avoiding the “Three Cs: closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings.” The article said the government’s decision not to produce such minutes flies in the face of its designation in March of the coronavirus outbreak as a “historic emergency,” which requires government agencies to keep proper records so that lessons can be learned for dealing with similar situations in the future.
Broadcasters ran similar reports, quoting Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Nishimura, who supervises the experts’ committee, as saying to the press today: “It is important for the professionals to have candid discussions. In the first gathering, we decided to create only an outline of the panel discussions without specifying who said what.” Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga also reportedly justified the absence of the minutes on the grounds that experts’ panels do not make policy decisions. However, the opposition bloc is reacting strongly, saying that without such minutes, there is no choice but to view the measures taken by the GOJ to combat the virus as “groundless.”