Yoshihide Suga attends a meeting on Covid-19 on January 22 in Tokyo.

Between the chain of scandals, questions about the Olympic Games and the discussed policy of preventing Covid-19, the Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, is going through a delicate period. The head of government is particularly embarrassed by a scandal involving his eldest son, Seigo.

According to the revelations of the weekly Bunshun in its edition of February 4, four senior communications ministry officials, including Yasuhiko Taniwaki, deputy director of general affairs and most importantly a former cybersecurity manager in the prime minister’s office, have been invited to dinner on several occasions by Seigo Suga, who works for the broadcast company by satellite Tohokushinsha, and other executives of this company, including CEO, Kiyotaka Ninomiya. They would have received gifts.

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Tohokushinsha, a company created in 1961 and initially specializing in dubbing, now manages seven satellite channels, including Star Channel and History Channel. The company having received broadcasting licenses from the communications ministry, the four officials may have violated the law on public service ethics.

Questioned in Parliament on this matter, the Prime Minister explained that he had called on his son to cooperate in the investigation. He nevertheless denied being aware of his activities. The deputy of the Constitutional Democratic Party (PDC, opposition), Hiroyuki Moriyama, however recalled that Seigo Suga had been his father’s assistant in 2006 and 2007 when he was minister of communications. “An inexperienced person, aged 25, does not become an assistant to the minister by chance”, quipped Mr. Moriyama, while the weekly Aera quoted a ministry official that “Mr. Suga’s son remains well known in the ministry. He entered politics when he was a musician ”. In addition, specifies the newspaper, “Yoshihide Suga still maintains excellent relations with this ministry”. Yasuhiko Taniwaki would be in charge of the policy of reducing the costs of mobile telephony, wanted by Mr. Suga.

Crumbling popularity

The case follows revelations that Mr. Suga dined in mid-December 2020 in the upscale Ginza neighborhood with politicians and TV personalities, as he called on people to avoid going out after 6 p.m. in as part of Covid-19 prevention measures.

The Olympic rings on the Odaiba waterfront in Tokyo on February 6, 2021.

Added to criticism of the management of the Covid-19 pandemic or of the stubbornness in wanting to organize the Olympic Games this summer, when 80% of Japanese want their postponement or cancellation, these cases are contributing to the erosion of its rating. popularity, down two points to 38% according to a survey by the public broadcaster NHK.

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