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TOKYO Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has drawn widespread criticism after his attempt to reinforce the stay home message during a state of emergency was widely seen as tone deaf.
Abe had tweeted a video of himself relaxing at home, petting his dog, nonchalantly sipping a cup of tea, and reading a book, with a split screen showing singer Gen Hoshino performing a song about staying home.
Cant see friends. Cant go out for drinks, Abe tweeted. Thanks to your behavior like this, many lives have certainly been saved.
But the video was widely slated online for being insensitive at a time when many people cant afford to stay home, when medical workers dont have the luxury of relaxing, and when few people who do stay home cant do so in such comfortable surroundings.
Despite the national crisis, tweeting luxuriously, the Nikkan Sports News wrote in a front-page headline. Is Abe an aristocrat? Louis 16th?
On Monday, Louis XVI was trending on Twitter in Japan, along with the phrase Who do you think you are?
Opposition politician Ichiro Ozawa said the tweet lacked imagination.
Others felt Abe looked unconcerned at a time when many people fear losing their loved ones, with one Twitter user even posting a video showing Abe sipping tea while on the other side of the screen, zombies stagger and die in the streets.
Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, asked about the criticism, said social media was an extremely effective way of getting the stay home message across and said the tweet had received more than 350,000 likes.
But Nikkan Sports News pointed out that even Abes allies had been critical, adding that if that had happened in France, you would see the second French revolution.