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‘Who do you think you are?’ Japan PM slammed for relax-at-home video amid coronavirus

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe drew sharp criticism on Sunday from some social media users after sharing on Twitter a video of himself lounging on a sofa with his pet dog, drinking a hot drink and reading, with a message telling people to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Who do you think you are?” became a top trend on Twitter, with users saying Abe’s message ignored the plight of those struggling to make a living during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Abe’s video, which featured his pet dog, was a response to popular musician Gen Hoshino, who uploaded a video of himself singing about dancing indoors and invited people to collaborate.

"We can't see our friends or go out drinking. However, such (staying at home) actions are saving many lives and relieves the strain on healthcare professionals who are facing very challenging circumstances," tweeted Abe. "Thanks to every single individual for their cooperation."

Abe posted the video during the first weekend since Japan declared a state of emergency in major population centers to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

“At a time when people are fighting for survival, to show a video of such luxury… one can’t help but wonder, ‘who do you think you are?’,” one Twitter user said.

During the coronavirus pandemic, many multinational companies have turned to messaging and video conferencing software, but in Japan, almost 80 percent of companies do not have the ability to let their employees work remotely, CNN reports citing 2019 government data.

Earlier this month, Abe faced public backlash after he said the government would distribute two reusable cloth face masks per household to about 50 million households amid mounting fears over medical shortages.

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Japan has exceeded 7,618 and the death toll stood at 143 as of Monday, according to John Hopkins tally.

- With Reuters

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