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Close encounters: Keio hospital residents gathered in bar after Koike ultimatum

Shukan Bunshun Apr. 16

TOKYO (TR) – On March 25, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged persons to not go out in the evening, a request aimed at reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Not heeding that request were 40 residents at Keio University Hospital, located in Shinjuku Ward. On March 26, they gathered at a dining bar in the capital.

On Monday, Keio University Hospital announced that 18 residents of the nearly 100 at the hospital had contracted the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

The announcement by the university includes a standard apology. However, a report appearing in the April 16 issue of weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun, which hit newsstands on Thursday, provides insight into the party, which, it probably goes without saying, included no so-called “social distancing.”

Keio University Hospital

“Group of college students”

The party marked the completion of one portion of a residency program. The official ceremony had been cancelled. However, the party went forward in spite of the fact that four patients at the hospital had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Bunshun.

“The reservation was in a person’s name,” an employee of the bar tells the magazine. “It was for about 40 people. Other reservations were canceled, but that one remained. They were quite drunk and made noise, so I thought it was a group of college students.”

In one photograph provided by the magazine, a female intern feeds a male intern a tart. In two others, two men kiss (with one including a pair of arms pulling them together by the neck). In a fourth, one person is collapsed on a sofa.

The evening began at an izakaya restaurant. After the dining bar, the group went to a karaoke parlor. They spent a total of about 10 hours together that evening, the magazine said.

At 9:54 p.m., the organizer of the party issued a message to attendees via the smartphone app Line that instructed them not to speak of the gathering and refrain from posting details on social media.


Keio University Hospital has 99 residents. In the statement issued on Monday, the hospital said that one resident tested positive for the coronavirus on March 31.

Subsequent testing revealed 17 other positive results. The 18 residents are currently hospitalized. The remaining residents are undergoing self-isolation at their homes.

“The actions taken by the residents were unacceptable as medical professionals who are to protect patients,” said Yuko Kitagawa, the head of the hospital “It must also be said that they lacked awareness as physicians. We take this case very seriously as a university hospital, an institution that provides guidance to residents.”

The hospital added that that during a tracing of the infections the existence of the party emerged. It is not clear how many of the persons who have tested positive attended the party.