Japan and more quasi measures: Olympics, Covid-19 highs, stay home, and no economic support
Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The administration of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga resides in one big Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) bubble. Likewise, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is part of the same LDP bubble. Therefore, new daily coronavirus (Covid-19) highs continue unabated since the Olympics began.
Yesterday, Japan had 14,000 new daily infections for the first time. This is despite the number of PCR tests being low despite the sizeable population of Japan. Hence, the Olympics have brought a sense of normality to a nation that is witnessing endless State of Emergencies and quasi measures.
The endless focus on closing restaurants at a set time, non-serving of alcohol in the late evening, requesting people to do telework (many individuals don’t have this option), asking people to stay home unless essential travel, and other broken records, are achieving little. Instead, it is an endless coronavirus yo-yo of ups and downs but little long-term change. Thus, the Suga administration is hoping that the vaccine program will eventually contain the coronavirus crisis. However, looking at events in the United Kingdom and the United States, this approach appears simplistic, to say the least!
Chiba, Kanagawa, Okinawa, Osaka, and Tokyo are currently under the State of Emergency. If you reside in these areas and commute in built-up areas, then you will note little change during the rush hour. Social distancing is also impossible during rush hour when commuting to work.
The Suga administration knows this – along with Koike and other regional leaders. However, the same mantra is said over and over again despite the longevity of the coronavirus crisis.
Laughingly – if it wasn’t sad – the same quasi measures that failed to quell the coronavirus crisis are being implemented once more. Hence, quasi measures are forthcoming in Aichi, Fukuoka, Fukushima, Gunma, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Kumamoto, Kyoto, Shiga, Shizuoka, and Tochigi.
Knowing the logic of Suga, he fears implementing a proper lockdown because he might be forced to provide economic assistance to the people of Japan.
NHK reports, “Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi, who is in charge of the coronavirus response, told the panel that new cases are increasing at an unprecedented speed in many parts of the country.”
The former leader of Japan, Shinzo Abe, postponed the Olympics and provided 100,000 yen to all adults in Japan. He did this despite coronavirus deaths and infections being low compared with the situation under Suga. However, the current leader loathes helping ordinary people struggling, unlike his determination to hold the Olympics despite more potent coronavirus variants.
Somehow, Suga believes that Japanese gold medals at the Olympics and international prestige are more important than the health care system – and infections and deaths coming from his folly.
Reuters reports, “A spike in cases fuelled by the Delta variant this week led Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to announce that only seriously ill COVID-19 patients would be admitted to hospital, raising fears of an increase in deaths.”
Hence, while Koike and Suga are rejoicing that the Olympics are going smoothly, the people of Japan are being endangered by endless folly because the LDP doesn’t fear losing power.
Suga doesn’t concern himself with ordinary people. Thus vast numbers struggling with the economic and psychological convulsions generated by the coronavirus crisis remain invisible.
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