Japan to assist internal tourism but Covid-19 increase in Tokyo brings fear

Japan to assist internal tourism but Covid-19 increase in Tokyo brings fear

Kanako Mita and Sawako Uchida

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese economy is reeling because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. However, with recent highs of new infections in Tokyo, is it wise to encourage internal tourism?

It should be noted that for 34 out of 47 prefectures then the death toll was non-existent to extremely low. Hence, extreme uneasiness occurred towards people traveling from areas hit by the coronavirus.

This materialized before the state of emergency was declared throughout the country. Yet with the state of emergency being lifted many weeks ago, then hope had developed that the worse was over. However, in the last four days, new infections in Tokyo have reached new highs.

Hence, for the 34 prefectures that escaped the worse, the fear is that outsiders might spread the coronavirus unintentionally. For many, it is a risk too far. Thus it appears that the central government is playing “dice” by solely focusing on economics.

Bizarrely, despite the increase of new infections in Tokyo, the central government is bringing forward its tourist plan. Originally, the plan had been for subsidies to start in August.

Yet, despite the recent upturn of new infections in Tokyo – that is threatening the prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama – the government is bringing forward Go To Travel. Therefore, the new date is July 22 because of the linked four-day holiday period.

Understandably, the government wants to boost the economy by offering major discounts. However, the government should focus on internal tourism in prefectures not hit by the coronavirus – or travel between several prefectures not hit to any extent. Rather than including Tokyo and other areas of concern based on new infections.

Overall, the subsidies on travel will appeal to many people. Yet, others residing in areas that have escaped the coronavirus crisis will fear the virus spreading. Therefore, the central government should consider all individuals rather than putting the economy first.

After all, the psychological angle is enormous for many individuals.

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