Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has drawn criticism from some Twitter users for a video showing himself relaxing at home to encourage people to stay indoors as ignoring those struggling to make a living amid the coronavirus spread.
Abe lounges on a sofa with his dog, sips from a cup and reads a book in the video that was a response to one on social media of Japanese singer and actor Gen Hoshino performing a song, "dancing on the inside."
友達と会えない。飲み会もできない。— 安倍晋三 (@AbeShinzo) April 12, 2020
Hoshino in his video invites people to collaborate, and numerous musicians, actors and others in the entertainment business have responded to his call.
In the post, Abe asks people to stay at home to curb the spread of the virus and to return to normal lives as soon as possible for meeting and talking with others.
"You look so elegant at a time when many people feel they are being strangled slowly (with the virus outbreak). Why don't you go and see hospitals that have been the battleground?" a Twitter user said.
"If I stay at home, I won't be paid...if you really want everyone to stay at home, please give us cash as compensation. We have seen companies starting to fail. Please think seriously," another user said.
Film director Kazuya Shiraishi said on Twitter, "I don't know any such insensible person. Do you know how many people are suffering from a hard life and what Mr. Hoshino was thinking of during his video creation?"
However, some users expressed support for Abe, saying it is important for him to rest as he has been busy handling the virus outbreak.
"Please take good care of yourself," one Twitter user wrote.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga defended the premier's post during a press conference Monday.
"The number of infections is rising among young people, especially those in their 20s. Using social networking services is extremely effective in urging the youth to refrain from going out," the top government spokesman said.
Infection cases have risen to more than 8,000 in Japan, including over 2,000 confirmed in Tokyo, as the capital and six other prefectures had their first weekend since a state of emergency was declared last Tuesday.
Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido issued its own declaration of a state of emergency again on Sunday, following one issued in late February, after seeing the pace of coronavirus infections picking up.