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Japan PM Kishida hits the golf course at start of summer break

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plays golf at a course in the Ibaraki Prefecture city of Tsukubamirai on Aug. 16, 2022, during his weeklong summer holidays that began the previous day. (Kyodo)

TSUKUBAMIRAI, Japan (Kyodo) -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida played golf Tuesday with his family in Ibaraki Prefecture near Tokyo on the first full day of his summer break.

    It is the first round of golf Kishida has played since taking the leadership in October last year, and he is scheduled to spend more time with his family outside of Tokyo from Wednesday, according to people close to him.

    "I'm getting refreshed after not playing golf for so long," Kishida told reporters in Tsukubamirai.

    Kishida's break began Monday afternoon after he attended a ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.

    The prime minister's vacation comes ahead of multiple challenges he is set to face in the coming weeks, including dealing with the seventh wave of the coronavirus pandemic and the controversial state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who was assassinated last month.

    Public opinion is divided over whether it is appropriate to hold a state-funded funeral for Abe, with 53 percent of respondents to a recent Kyodo News poll opposing it.

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