Japanese minister Noda confirmed coronavirus positive

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Seiko Noda, minister in charge of measures against the declining birthrate, has been confirmed positive for the novel coronavirus, the House of Representatives said Friday.

Noda, a member of the lower chamber of the Diet, took an antigen test for COVID-19 because she had a slight fever Friday morning, and tested positive, according to the Cabinet Office. Her infection was confirmed in a polymerase chain reaction test conducted later in the day.

Noda, who became the first Cabinet minister confirmed with the virus, has symptoms of slight fever and slight nasal voice. She canceled all of her duties scheduled for Friday and is isolating at home.

She is in charge of a bill to set up a government agency for children and families, regarded as key legislation by the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The government and the Liberal Democratic Party-led ruling bloc had aimed to begin discussions on the bill at the lower house on Thursday next week. Noda’s infection is expected to force them to review the schedule.

Members of a relevant Lower House committee and parliamentary affairs officials of the ruling and opposition parties are holding discussions on the rescheduling of the Diet debate, Tsuyoshi Takagi, chief of the LDP’s Diet Affairs Committee, told reporters.