Calls to improve prime minister’s teleworking setup

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida virtually attends a monthly economy-related ministerial meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo on Aug. 25.

There have been calls to improve teleworking setup for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as he resumed official duties Wednesday following the isolation period for the novel coronavirus infection.

Kishida continued his duties virtually from the prime minister’s official residence during the 10-day isolation period. However, ministers and officials were required to visit the Prime Minister’s Office in person, where a monitor connected to the official residence was located.

A dedicated fiber-optic conference system was installed in preparation for the prime minister’s isolation. However, the line was only connected between the official residence and the Prime Minister’s Office, requiring people who wanted to talk to Kishida to visit the Prime Minister’s Office as usual.

A government official who spoke to the prime minister during the isolation period lamented, “Doesn’t it seem like a waste of time to go to the Prime Minister’s Office?”

The Cabinet Secretariat claims that the closed system is used to ensure confidentiality. The National Security Council’s meeting of four ministers was held on Aug. 24 and 30 with Kishida attending virtually. A senior official of the Prime Minister’s Office stressed, “The current method is preferable because we don’t want any communication between the prime minister and the ministers to be leaked.”