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Miyazaki Pref. asks newspaper to change gov.’s activities after positive COVID test

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Miyazaki prefectural government

MIYAZAKI — The Miyazaki prefectural government asked a local newspaper to change details about the New Year activities of Gov. Shunji Kono ahead of publication after he tested positive for coronavirus, it has been learned.

Kono visited shrines in the prefecture on Jan. 1 and tested positive for coronavirus on the following day.

The prefecture routinely sends the governor’s activities to the Miyazaki Nichinichi Shimbun for publication the following day.

The prefectural government emailed the Miyazaki Nichinichi Shimbun on Jan. 1, stating Kono “visited Miyazaki Jingu Shrine and Gokoku Shrine in Miyazaki City on New Year’s Day.”

After the governor’s coronavirus infection had been confirmed on Monday, it asked the newspaper not to publish the information and instead state that the governor had “stayed in his office and elsewhere on New Year’s Day,” according to the prefectural government.

The newspaper did not comply with the request.

The prefecture’s public relations department was concerned that the governor’s coronavirus diagnosis “would cause anxiety among the public.” The department informed Kono that it wanted to change the information and then took action without waiting for a response.

The prefecture made an announcement about Kono’s infection but did not mention his shrine visits on New Year’s Day.

Kono subsequently issued an apology. “The primary concern should’ve been providing accurate information,” he said.