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Japan economy minister defends his role after lockdown criticism By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Japan’s Minister in charge of economic revitalisation and measures for the novel coronavirus pandemic Yasutoshi Nishimura attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, September 16, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, tasked with leading the government’s pandemic response, defended his role on Wednesday after criticism over his handling of lockdown measures on bars and restaurants.

Nishimura, asked whether he intends to resign, said his “responsibility was in preventing infections and ensuring an economic recovery”.

Nishimura had caused an uproar last week after suggesting that banks put pressure on restaurants and bars which defy the government’s lockdown measures, and that beverage makers stop doing trade with them. He has since taken back the suggestions.

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