The health ministry effectively removed a division chief from his post during a late-night farewell party that took place among 23 people in the ministry last week amid rising coronavirus cases.
The ministry said on Tuesday that Kaoru Manabe, head of the Elderly Health Division at the ministry’s Office of Elderly Health and Welfare, which hosted the party, would see his salary cut by 10% during a months and that it has been moved. at the Minister’s Secretariat on the same day.
Health Minister Norihisa Tamura will voluntarily return two months of his salary as cabinet minister on the issue.
Of the remaining 22 party participants, 19 received warnings, while the other three were not punished for working for the ministry as interns from local governments.
Deputy Health Minister Hideki Tarumi received a stern warning for failing to properly supervise his staff at the ministry. Eiji Habu, head of the Elderly Health and Welfare Bureau, received a milder warning.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters that “I sincerely apologize” for the late night party. He also said Tamura instructed his ministry officials to take action to ensure that no such celebrations happen again.
According to the ministry, the farewell party among the 23 people, including Manabe, who all belong to the Division of Elderly Health, took place at a izakaya pub in Tokyo on Wednesday last week.
As the Tokyo Metropolitan Government asks restaurants and bars in the Japanese capital to close at 9 p.m. as a measure against the coronavirus, they looked for a place that would remain open until after 9 p.m. The party took place between 7:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. approximately. 11:50 p.m.
In an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, the government has called on the public not to hold welcome and farewell parties or have meals between five or more attendees.
Manabe said during the ministry’s investigation into the late-night party in question that he was sorry for causing problems throughout the ministry for his reckless and thoughtless behavior.
“I apologize for the betrayal of public trust by officials in the ministry, which asks people to exercise restraint in their daily lives,” Tamura said at a press conference on Tuesday.
The ministry also said it confirmed that two more catering sessions, attended by five and six ministry employees respectively, took place at the end of March. Although the sessions ended at 9 p.m., the ministry will investigate the details of the events.
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