PM Abe of Japan seeks to reassure people about new measures to tackle coronavirus
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan sought to reassure people about new measures to tackle coronavirus (Covid-19). Thus, with pressure ramping up internally because of the slowness of action, a more pro-active approach is gradually emerging.
In comparison with China and South Korea that have tested vast numbers of people, the opposite applies to Japan. Hence, many ordinary citizens are alarmed why testing kits have been used so whimsical.
Abe, responding to pressure, announced, “Within this month, it is expected that up to 8,000 people will be tested in a day. With these tests, so-called cluster-infections will be detected and responded early, and diagnosis will be available early also to prevent serious cases.”
Currently, unlike China, Italy, and Iran, the number of deaths in Japan is relatively low. Similarly, the number of infections is suspiciously low based on several factors, including the limited number of tests. At the same time, it appears that the Abe administration is more fixated on the economic angle and going ahead with the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Indeed, once more Abe referred to the Olympics by stating, “We hope to overcome the spread of infections first and foremost and hold the Olympics as planned without a hitch.”
The obsession with the Olympics is extremely disturbing for many people in Japan. After all, the sole concern for the majority is the coronavirus crisis. This relates naturally to health concerns, the psychological impact, and the horrendous economic angle.
In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times, it was stipulated, “Internally, in Japan, the most important issue for the majority of people isn’t the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games but the coronavirus crisis. Yes, the Japanese government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government are focused on the economic angle. However, the real fear in Japan is the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Thus, all focus should be on increasing health care measures and helping small to medium-sized companies to survive.”
Abe stressed, “At this point, we’re not in a situation in which I need to declare a state of emergency.”
Similarly, outside the economic angle, Abe sought to reassure people that Japan is ramping up contingency measures. For example, more hospital beds will be available in the worst-case scenario. Likewise, more investments in the availability of ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machines and other important measures were announced.
In truth, Abe’s reassurances related to health care measures and increased testing will be welcomed. Yet, his perennial reassurance about the Olympics is mentioned with too much frequency. After all, with more than 5,000 people internationally already dying because of coronavirus – and with this number likely to increase – then the Olympics is a pale shadow when it comes to importance.
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