Japan media in “teetering over coronavirus” but the majority of prefectures have few deaths
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis in Japan is rather unique because it appeared that the situation had been contained. Hence, despite coronavirus first being detected in the middle of January, it seemed by early March that the impact was rather limited.
However, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike being obsessed with at least getting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics postponed, then many murky shadows persist. Thus, the sudden increase of coronavirus after the Olympic postponement, followed by Abe and Koike being more focused does leave a sour taste.
Turning away from this, you now have headlines that the Japanese health care system is teetering and is on the brink of a meltdown. Yet, the terminology “Japan” doesn’t currently apply in relation to the reality of coronavirus in this country.
In the following 47 prefectures, these all have less than ten deaths despite the coronavirus entering Japan in the middle of January. This applies to Akita (0), Aomori (0), Fukushima (0), Iwate (0), Kagawa (0), Miyagi (0), Miyazaki (0), Nagano (0), Okayama (0), Shizuoka (0), Tochigi (0), Tottori (0), Yamagata (0), Yamaguchi (0), Yamanashi (0), Kumamoto (1), Mie (1), Nagasaki (1), Saga (1), Shiga (1), Wakayama (1), Hiroshima (2), Shimane (2), Ehime (3), Kochi (3), Tokushima (3), Kagoshima (4), Okinawa (4), Niigata (5), Toyama (5), Fukui (6), Gifu (6), Ishikawa (6), and Nara (8). Therefore, 34 prefecture outs of 47 have less than 10 deaths in over three months and this implies that Japan can’t possibly be “teetering on the brink.”
Yes, some hospitals are struggling because of the ineptitude of Abe and Koike. For example, Koike didn’t even close down the sex trade area of Shinjuku in Tokyo, where the head office of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is based. Similarly, Abe’s state of emergency is extremely weak and Koike tolerates the restaurant sector to stay open, providing they open and shut by a set time.
Tokyo and the three prefectures connected directly account for a sizeable number of all infected cases. This relates to Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama. Hence, some hospitals are over-stretched from coronavirus but the picture throughout Japan is different.
Indeed, even in Tokyo, the death toll is only 117 after more than three months. Given the size of Tokyo, and with the number of infections coming down in the last week, then something is amiss. After all, look at the severity of deaths and infections in other parts of the world. Therefore, how come these nations weren’t in meltdown with such few deaths and how did they cope with over 20,000 deaths?
It could well be that coronavirus spreads throughout Japan to a higher degree than currently exists. If so, then Japan may face a real crisis like the worse hit European nations and the United States. However, after more than three months and with only 415 deaths, this currently doesn’t exist.
Recent indications in Tokyo look positive because infections in the last week have come down. Yet, vigilance must remain because the nature of the coronavirus is extremely chaotic. Thus, Japan needs to increase its capacity to support areas hit the hardest. This notably applies to Chiba, Hokkaido, Kanagawa, Osaka, Saitama, and Tokyo.
Equally important, Japan needs to ramp up safety equipment for all medical staff and protect care homes. Also, Japan must increase hospital capacity in line with other nations.
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