Japan with highest Covid infections: Older people and aloof Kishida

Japan with highest Covid infectionsOlder people and aloof Kishida

Kanako Mita and Sawako Utsumi

Modern Tokyo Times

In the last week, the highest daily infections in the world for this period occurred in Japan. Nobody is surprised. After all, under the leadership of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, his main approach is relying on foreign vaccines. 

Last week, Japan recorded 969,000 coronavirus infections compared with 860,000 in America. This was followed by Germany, with 570,000. America and Brazil had the most deaths in this period. Therefore, Kishida is accepting the widespread infections to occur: while waiting for the virus to peter out by itself. 

Former leaders – the late Shinzo Abe and Yoshihide Suga – introduced several states of emergencies and quasi-emergencies that were mild. However, they often brought down the number of infections. Yet, Kishida is currently introducing no state of emergencies and is putting the onus on local prefectures to deal with the situation. 

Kishida seemingly turned a blind eye until the infection rate hit such high numbers. Thus with mounting pressure concerning his “do nothing approach” – outside of relying on foreign vaccines – he announced piecemeal measures rather late in the day.

NHK reports, “Under the new system to be announced on Friday, the country’s prefectural governments can issue declarations to combat the BA.5 subvariant when the burden on medical institutions in their area increases, for example, when hospital bed occupancy rates exceed 50 percent.”

The focus is primarily on economic activities – and social angles that equally relate to this angle. However, with daily infections running so high at the moment, many companies have workforces that are at home or in the hospital because of being infected. Therefore, the piecemeal approach by Kishida equates to vaccinations, remote working (covers a minority of workers), and local governments requesting elderly citizens to avoid busy places. 

Lee Jay Walker says, “Kishida seems aloof that many older people also work in Japan. After all, unlike himself – and a host of traditional family political elites who reach the top of the political system and are rich: ordinary citizens face genuine hardship. In a sense, this sums up how out of touch the Kishida administration is. Hence, many older people can’t avoid busy places because they are still working.” 

Recent statistics highlight that roughly 50 percent of people are still working between the ages of 65 and 69 – and around 33 percent are working between the ages of 70 and 74. Others also continue to work after the age of 74. This figure is even higher when it concerns dependency. Thus, many older people (aged 65 to 75) rely on family incomes or personal incomes to survive. Also, some help their children and grandchildren. Therefore, for these people, how can they avoid busy places?

Many companies also utilize elderly workers (many being a source of cheap labor and with little working rights). This is increasing further because of the low birth rate. Therefore, the latest piecemeal measures – and limited knowledge that the Kishida administration appears to have – say much about the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. 

The fourth vaccine for older people and vulnerable groups is the sole policy desired by the Kishida administration. Hence, people in Japan are basically being told to wait until the virus peters out naturally. 

https://stopcovid19.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/en/ – Tokyo Metropolitan Government website for updates about the coronavirus crisis in Tokyo.

https://toyokeizai.net/sp/visual/tko/covid19/en.html – Japan and Tokyo Covid-19 news with more analysis

https://covid19japan.com/ – Japan regional coronavirus statistics

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ World coronavirus statistics

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