The following is the gist of interpellations at the Lower House budget committee meeting on Feb. 5, 2021:
Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games
Yasufumi Fujino (Japanese Communist Party): The government should cancel the Games.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga: International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and I agreed that we will hold the Olympic Games by all means. Anti-infection measures are extremely important to hold the Games safely.
COVID-19 tracing app
Kenta Izumi (Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan): A technical glitch was found in the app to notify users they’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Suga: (The app) is the key to anti-infection measures. I’m deeply sorry.
Hideko Nishioka (Democratic Party for the People): The European Union (EU) has introduced export restrictions.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi: We asked the EU to prevent the measure from impacting planned vaccine supplies to Japan and were told that the EU would make utmost efforts. We will work for a smooth supply of vaccines.
Nishioka: What is the schedule for vaccinations?
Suga: We are considering (starting vaccination) for senior citizens in April. But we have not finalized a schedule yet.
Mitsunori Okamoto (Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan): Is there a possibility that vaccinations could start in May or June?
Minister in charge of administrative and regulatory reform Taro Kono: We can’t say that will not be the case.
Wining and dining of senior MIC officials
Hiroyuki Moriyama (Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan): Is the report (by Shukan Bunshun that the prime minister’s eldest son wined and dined) [senior officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications] true?
Suga: The Internal Affairs Ministry is currently investigating. I should not get involved.