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Politics

Suga vs Koike: Bitter political rivalry hampers Japan's COVID response

Prime minister and Tokyo governor disagreed over emergency decree

TOKYO -- When Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike decided to ask the government to declare a state of emergency in the capital, she did not take her plea directly to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Instead, Koike and the governors of three neighboring prefectures met with Yasutoshi Nishimura, the government's point man on the coronavirus response, at the Cabinet Office building on Jan. 2, even though Suga was just across the street at his official residence. He had just wrapped up his own meeting on COVID-19.

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