Amid the well-wishes and cheerleading messages being sent to those living in the disaster-ridden areas via Twitter, one of the few surefire ways to communicate in these times of disrupted networks, the Japanese have another message for someone else: imploring the government’s tireless spokesman Yukio Edano to get some rest.
The plea has grown so loud that the hashtag #edano_nero has become a global trending topic on the micro-blogging service on Monday. “Nero” means to sleep in Japanese.
“Mr. Edano, please don’t overdo it,” wrote Twitter user “sarang5NY” Monday afternoon. “I respect you very much for explaining the situation to the people every time you speak rather than reading from a script.”
Mr. Edano, Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s right-hand man, has been firmly planted behind the podium while relaying every development since the catastrophes hit. His constant presence on blanket live TV coverage, sometimes several times an hour, at all hours of the day, has made him the government’s face and voice of the crisis. The image of his stocky figure, covered in the light blue one piece emergency suit, bent over the microphone, his two hands gripping the sides of the podium, has been burnt into the country’s psyche, earning him plaudits for his steadfastness.
During one of the dozens of press conferences he helmed Sunday night/Monday morning, Twitter users watching the live broadcast via online streaming provider Ustream rooted for the chief cabinet secretary, while howling when the local media peppered him with questions. One Twitter user cried, “Don’t waste his energy by asking ludicrous questions.”
“There is no substitute for you so please sleep even a little bit for the sake of your health!!!,” tweeted “Laurea21,” a Saitama-based micro-blogger, on Monday night. “This is too much for Kan!!” she added, referring to the prime minister, whose appearances have been much rarer.
Indeed, while it seems the previously beleaguered ruling Democratic Party of Japan has been cut some slack in the days since the crisis, that sentiment doesn’t seem to have extended to the prime minister. A new Twitter trend cropping up in conjunction with the one hailing the prime minister’s right-hand man is another called #kan_okiro. “Okiro” means to wake up in Japanese.