With about 16,000 registered cases, 710 deaths and about 10,000 cured patients (as of May 15th, per the data of the Ministry of Health, Labor and social Affairs), Japan ranks among the developed countries the less affected by the Covid-19.
Following a peak in mid-April, the daily number of cases per day has been decreasing steadily. In order to slow down the virus, Shinzo Abe’s government enacted as early as February a whole series of counter measures including school closures, cancellations of popular events and the release of emergency funds designated to stimulate the economy.
All these measures have been facilitated by an effective health system and a responsive population familiar with the prevention of epidemics. In fact, during the flu season, Tokyo’s public transportation users naturally tend to wear facial masks.
Japan’s state of emergency isn’t synonym to a lockdown as we mean it in western Europe, but it allows the governors of each of the 47 prefectures to ask (but not to impose) its inhabitant to stay as home as much as possible, to close certain shops or to comply to the requisition of land for medical purposes. Moreover, teleworking is highly recommended, which in Japanese Labor Culture actually implies an obligation.
Along with the slowing down of the economy, the postponement of the Tokyo summer Olympics games to 2021 is now the hottest topic of discussion in the land. However, the decision has mostly been welcomed by Tokyoites, considering a growing anxiety of hosting large numbers of visitors in a country that has so far succeeded in containing the pandemic, despite a dense demography.
Although worried by the scale of the pandemic, the Japan population has remained serene and holds faith that the worse is now past. As a matter of a fact, the government proclaimed on May 15th the end of the emergency state in 39 of the 47 prefectures. As for the remaining prefectures, this happend on May 25th instead of the date of the 31st that was originally planned.
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