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Cabinet adviser resigns after suggesting Japan's COVID-19 cases a 'ripple'

Special Adviser to the Cabinet Yoichi Takahashi is seen in the Diet in this Feb. 21, 2018, file photo. (Mainichi/Masahiro Kawata)

TOKYO -- A Cabinet adviser who stirred controversy by calling the coronavirus pandemic in Japan a mere "ripple" and suggesting the state of emergency over the virus was seen overseas as "nothing" resigned on May 24, the government announced.

    Cabinet adviser Yoichi Takahashi, a professor at Kaetsu University, had tweeted, "Even when you say there's a declaration of a state of emergency in Japan, from Europe and the United States' points of view, there's no martial law and they probably see it as 'nothing,'" using a Japanese metaphor comparing the declaration to a fart.

    In regard to his post, Takahashi explained he was referring to "the weakness of Japan's restrictions on people's movements."

    Takahashi earlier stirred controversy on May 9 by saying that the state of coronavirus infections in Japan was "a mere 'ripple.'" Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that Takahashi had apologized, and stated that it was "extremely regrettable."


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