Shinzo Abe accused of going awol as Japan tackles Covid surge

PM acclaimed Japan’s response as a model for the world, but has been largely silent amid record case rises

After Japan appeared to have brought the coronavirus outbreak under control in late May, the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, acclaimed his country’s response as a “model” for the rest of the world. It had avoided an explosion in cases, he said, and without the compulsory lockdowns imposed in Europe and the US.

Abe lifted the seven-week state of emergency, enabling bars and restaurants that had voluntarily closed to reopen for business. Plans were made to allow indoor events with up to 5,000 attendees, and the media trailed the launch of an economy-boosting nationwide tourism campaign.

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