Japan's Abe criticised as tone deaf after lounge-at-home Twitter video

Some people reacting to his online message said Mr Abe acted like 'an aristocrat'

Shinzo Abe criticised for Twitter video

Shinzo Abe criticised for Twitter video
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "stay home" message has fueled anger and accusations that he was insensitive to people who cannot rest at home because the government's voluntary social distancing measures do not come with compensation.

Some people reacting to his message on Twitter said Mr Abe acted like "an aristocrat". The one-minute video released on Sunday shows an expressionless Mr Abe sitting at home, cuddling his dog, reading a book, sipping from a cup and clicking on a remote control.

Entertainer Gen Hoshino appeared in part of the video but later said the clip of him strumming on a guitar at home was used without his permission.

"Who do you think you are?" became a top trend on Twitter, with users saying Mr Abe's message ignored the plight of those struggling to make a living during the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Abe declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures last Tuesday and broadened it to nationwide Saturday.

He is asking people to stay home and reduce interactions by as much as 80 per cent, but he wants non-business closures to wait until the effects of the stay-home request are evaluated.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike asked non-essential businesses such as hostess bars, movie theaters and schools to close until May 6, with some exceptions, but most other prefectures have fallen behind.

Saitama, north of Tokyo, started non-essential business closures Monday, and its governor, Motohiro Ono, said he planned to ask the central government for financial support to compensate for the business closures.

Many Japanese companies are slow to switch to remote work and many people were still commuting to their jobs.

Japan had 7,255 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 114 deaths, according to the latest figures on Monday.

The state of emergency will include the city of Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido from Tuesday, broadcaster NHK reported, with the local authorities ordering the closure of schools in Sapporo and some neighbouring areas.

The Sapporo state of emergency is expected to run until May 6 and will shut other public facilities. Residents will be asked to stay indoors for non-essential business, NHK said.

Adding to Japan's woes, estimates put the overall cost of the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games at $2 billion-$6 billion.

The International Olympic Committee will face "several hundred million dollars" of added costs because of the postponement of the Tokyo Games, the body's president said.

Thomas Bach spoke in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt on Sunday.

Except for the IOC portion, all added costs will be borne by the Japanese side according to an agreement signed in 2013 when Tokyo was awarded the Olympics.