TOKYO: The “excessive fatigue” that led Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike to a hospital two days ago was not only due to the extra work related to fighting coronavirus and the Tokyo Olympics controversy, but “also due to the death of her beloved female dog, So,” Tokyo metropolitan government officials told local media.
The 18-year-old female Yorkshire terrier dog, called So-chan, which Koike had kept for a long time, died this month. Since that Koike has no kids, the dog was very close to her, they said.
歳末「火の用心」に我が家の老犬そうちゃんも出動準備できてます。 pic.twitter.com/8ruLLZyzOj— 小池百合子 (@ecoyuri) December 13, 2019
“Chan” expresses that the speaker finds a person endearing. In general, -chan is used for young children, close friends, babies, grandparents. It may also use it towards cute animals, lovers, or youthful women.
Since she first joined the cabinet as a minister of environment in 2003, Koike kept her dog, So-chan.
As a dog lover, Koike called for “Zero Animal Slaughter” in her 2016 election campaign, so the loss of her pet was heartbreakingfor the governor.
Governor Koike used to take care of her mother, Emiko, who died of cancer in September 2013 at 88. Her mother had poor health and loved dogs, therefore So-chan was a good partner in the house to relieve their stress and give them pleasant company.
“Every morning, governor Koike used to talk to her dog before leaving to work, saying, “I’ll be back. The exhaustion of coronavirus-related work had Koike feel “worn out,” so So-chan was a healing power to her. Koike sometimes took So-chan for a walk on weekends.
So-chan’s name comes from half of the word “sori,” which means “Prime Minister” in Japanese.
As the aging process took its toll on the dog, So-chan started to have difficulty even climb to the sofa where she used to relax, which made Koike worry about her dog’s physical conditions.
In an interview with a local magazine, Koike said that her excellent partner dog provided her with healing in the days when Covid-19 issues forced her to make complex judgments. “The hole in her heart that she lost So-chan was bigger than imagined,” the reporter who conducted the interview said.