The weekend editions of all national dailies reported extensively on the disclosure by President Trump on Thursday that he and the First Lady had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The papers reported that the President has received multiple medications and noted that his unexpected hospitalization on Friday has raised concerns about his health condition. Today’s dailies focused on the conflicting accounts of the President’s health status presented by his doctors, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and other senior White House officials.
The local press wrote that the U.S. leader has consistently downplayed the virus outbreak, expressing the view that the fact that the President and First Lady have tested positive is bound to have adverse effects on his reelection bid since he will probably have to cancel or postpone many of his campaign rallies. Pointing out that a number of the President’s senior aides and other participants in the Sept. 26 ceremony at the White House announcing Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett have also tested positive, Asahi wrote that it turned out to be a “superspreader event” and that the cluster infection in the White House illustrates the administration’s failure of crisis management. Mainichi claimed that the U.S. leader is apparently “paying a high price” for underestimating the risks of the disease.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Suga posted a tweet wishing the President an early recovery. The premier wrote that he was “very worried” when he read the President’s tweet announcing that he and the First Lady had tested positive. Suga expressed hope in English and Japanese that the Trumps will “resume normal lives soon.” Former Prime Minister Abe also posted a tweet “as a friend” wishing the President and First Lady a speedy recovery.
Meanwhile, today’s dailies took up the DOS announcement on Secretary Pompeo’s decision to cancel a portion of his planned three-nation East Asian tour, noting that he will forgo visiting Mongolia and South Korea and travel only to Japan. They speculated that the Secretary chose to shorten his trip in preparation for the possibility of the President’s health condition deteriorating, with Nikkei saying that the U.S. leader’s infection with the virus is having an adverse effect on the nation’s security policy.