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News Navigator: How does Japan PM Kishida spend his time at his official residence?

The prime minister's official residence, left, and the prime minister's office, back right, are seen in this photo. (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

The Mainichi Shimbun answers some common questions readers may have about how Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spends his time at his official residence in Tokyo.

    Question: Is it true that Prime Minister Kishida lives very close to his official workplace?

    Answer: Yes, he lives at the prime minister's official residence, which is on the same property as the prime minister's office, where he works. So he naturally commutes on foot.

    Former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stayed in the public apartment complex for House of Representatives members in Tokyo's Akasaka district, and his predecessor Shinzo Abe commuted to the prime minister's office by car from his private residence in the capital's Shibuya Ward. So Kishida is the first to live in the prime minister's official residence since Yoshihiko Noda, Abe's predecessor.

    Q: Why was there such a long gap?

    A: Abe and Suga apparently felt they wanted to be away from the prime minister's office, to get a change of scenery at least when they go to bed. But the traffic management and accompanying security detail needed whenever a prime minister moves from one place to another makes it a major hassle.

    Kishida reportedly judged that it would be more convenient and better for crisis management if he lived at the prime minister's official residence. In fact, when a quake registering an upper 6 on the 7-point Japanese seismic intensity scale jolted the Tohoku region in northeastern Japan late one night in March, Kishida was at the prime minister's office just 19 minutes later.

    Q: What is Kishida's life like at the official residence?

    A: Kishida lives there with his eldest son and secretary Shotaro. First lady Yuko Kishida spends about half of the month at the residence, and the rest in Hiroshima, her husband's home turf.

    On May 6, upon Kishida's return to Japan from an official overseas trip during the Golden Week holiday period, the first couple and their son apparently shared a hot pot together, at the request of Kishida. When Yuko is away and there are no meals with dignitaries from home and abroad, Kishida sometimes eats bento boxed meals from a convenience store after returning home. He is reportedly caring for his own health and drinks "aojiru" green vegetable juice in the morning.

    Q: Wow, that's surprising, isn't it?

    A: The prime minister's official residence formerly served as the prime minister's office, and there is a space there used for the prime minister's teleconferences with foreign counterparts. Meanwhile, the residential area is said to look like a condominium unit, with wooden floors.

    Kishida uses an exercise bicycle and dumbbells that he brought into the official residence. A former high school baseballer, Kishida may find working up a sweat a great way to relieve stress.

    (Japanese original by Yusuke Kaite, Political News Department)

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