Japan’s finance minister has sparked controversy by attributing the nation’s low coronavirus mortality rate to the superiority of its social manners.
Taro Aso, who is also deputy prime minister, made his remarks during a parliamentary session as Japan starts to reopen for business after the nationwide state of emergency ended last week.
“I often got phone calls [from people overseas] asking ‘do you have any drug that only you guys have?” said Aso, who has something of a reputation for controversial comments. “My answer is the level of social manners is different – and then they fall silent.”
Critics highlighted how Aso used the Japanese word mindo, which loosely translates as “cultural standard” and is often used by politicians to invoke a sense of nationalism and ethnic superiority.
Renho, vice chair of the Constitutional Democratic Party
By Steven Scheer
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel Katz took over as Israel’s finance minister on Monday as part of a new government, saying he planned to work towards helping the economy recover from the effects of the coronavirus while also promoting competition.
Katz — who replaces Moshe Kahlon after a five-year stint — said he didn’t want to talk about specific economic policies, preferring to first meet the ministry’s experts.
“There will be a plan,” he told a ceremony to mark the changing of the guard. “It will be accompanied by reforms, … competition.”
He has 90 days to pass a 2020 state budget. Israel has been using a pro-rated version of the 2019 base budget.
The government has approved an emergency stimulus plan of some 100 billion shekels ($28 billion) to help businesses and the economy deal with the effects of the pandemic — pushing up the expected budget
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