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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a speech during the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing in Hiroshima on Saturday — his most recent public appearance. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe underwent a medical examination in a Tokyo hospital Monday after a top official expressed concern he was fatigued from his workload during the pandemic, Reuters reports.

The big picture: Officials told Japanese media Abe was going for a routine checkup. His visit coincided with new data showing Japan suffered its worst decline on record, with the economy shrinking at an annual rate of 27.8% from April to June and GDP falling 7.8%. Economic activity ground to "a near halt" in April and May, when Abe had declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, per the New York Times. Abe has "worked nearly continuously" since the pandemic began, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 26, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Japan's big new climate goal

Climate protest in Tokyo in November 2019. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan's new prime minister said on Monday the nation will seek to become carbon neutral by 2050, a move that will require huge changes in its fossil fuel-heavy energy mix in order to succeed.

Why it matters: Japan is the world's fifth-largest source of carbon emissions. The new goal announced by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is stronger than the country's previous target of becoming carbon neutral as early as possible in the latter half of the century.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

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