Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a meeting in Tokyo. File photo
Celebrities and other critics of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have taken to social media in droves to protest against a plan to raise the retirement age for prosecutors, calling it undemocratic and ill-timed during the coronavirus crisis.
Critics fear such a move would let an administration retain favourites in key posts, endangering prosecutors' independence, and were angered by its timing during the virus pandemic, Abe's handling of which has drawn fire for being slow and clumsy.
A survey published in the Nikkei daily on Monday showed 55% of respondents disapproved of Abe's handling of the crisis, up 11 points from a previous poll, although support for his cabinet was little changed at 49%, after a decline this year.
"In the midst of the coronavirus calamity, we should focus on people's lives," well-known director Amon Miyamoto said on Twitter in one of what media said were more than 4.7 million similar messages, including repeats, over the weekend.
"To forcibly decide on a law that is clearly divorced from democracy is a tragedy for Japan."
Parliament is debating whether to raise prosecutors' retirement age to 65, from 63, except for the top prosecutor, as well as further extensions with cabinet approval.
"Please do not distort the law and politics for your own protection," actor Arata Iura said on Twitter. "Please do not destroy this country."
Abe defended the change in parliament, saying it was in line with those for other civil servants that aimed to make "full use of the rich experience and knowledge" of older officials.
He added, "It's wrong to argue that (the revised law) would lead to arbitrary personnel decisions by the cabinet."
Abe also faced criticism this year when the chief of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutor's Office, seen as close to the premier, was allowed to stay on after turning 63.
"The legislation would clearly destroy the separation of powers," said independent political analyst Atsuo Ito. "People are angry that they are trying to enact this speedily at a time when we face anxiety over the coronavirus."
While Japan has not suffered the explosive surge in infections of other nations, its tally by mid-day on Monday stood at 15,847 cases, including 633 deaths, public broadcaster NHK said.
The pandemic has delivered a crushing blow to the economy, stirring talk of a Great Depression-like downturn among Japan's central bankers. On Monday, Abe vowed swift further stimulus measures.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to hold a news conference at 6pm (0900 GMT) when he is expected to announce the lifting of the emergency in 39 of Japan's 47 prefectures, but not in Tokyo.
India has reported more than 300,000 new cases each day for the past four days, more than anywhere else in the world since the pandemic began, piling pressure on the public health system.
The string of weapons drills come as a prolonged hiatus in disarmament talks with the United States drags on, and despite recent overtures from Washington offering help to contain the pandemic.
The state of emergency, giving authorities more power to press people to stay at home and businesses to close, will last through May 6 and be imposed in the capital, Tokyo, and six other prefectures - accounting for about 44% of Japan's population.
"Dubai is an open cosmopolitan city, one that allows different nationalities and cultures to live in harmony and exchange expertise and innovations. We are living in a great era that enables us to show off our talent...," she said.
The basic health screening with 47 tests include CBC, uric acid, diabetic screening with HBA1C, estimated blood glucose, liver screening with ALT, AST, GGT, alkaline phosphatase, total protein, total bilirubin, lipid profile and different kidney tests.
The NCM appealed to the public to be careful and exercise caution while driving during the rain, as well as when the horizontal visibility is not clear, due to rain and winds that raise dust and dirt.