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Japan poised for Covid-19 state of emergency declaration



FILE PHOTO: What does a Japanese Covid-19 lockdown mean for the coming Olympics?

Japan was prepared to declare a state of emergency in four regions including Tokyo today, after 860 new Covid-19 infections yesterday. These are the highest numbers seen since January when the previous state of emergency went into effect. Infection numbers are rising again after restrictions were lifted last month. The dire situation in Japan of the Covid-19 fourth wave casts new doubts on the plans to host the Tokyo Olympics in just 3 months.

A top spokesperson for the Japanese government reassured that they plan to take strong action, but will keep a narrow focus to target outbreaks and minimize the timeframe that lockdowns and harsh regulations are necessary. They are considering reducing train and bus services to discourage travellers who could spread Covid-19, as Japan approaches its annual Golden Week on April 29 to May 5.

Much like the Songkran holiday in Thailand, Golden Week is a collection of four national holidays in all occurring Japan in a seven-day period. And like Songkran, it is traditionally one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, but will likely be mostly muted due to unfortunately timed Covid-19 outbreaks in Japan like in Thailand.

Japanese officials are struggling with the optics of banning sports fans from attending events to battle the current outbreak, while simultaneously projecting the image of preparedness to safely host the biggest sporting event in the world, the Olympics. Only 1.2 million people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Japan, only 1% of the population, meaning there is no change of herd immunity being achieved before the Olympic games are scheduled to begin July 23.

Covid-19 vaccination started in Japan in mid-February, inoculating mostly health care workers and emergency responders, and extending availability to those over 65 on April 12. But extremely high vaccine approval standards, along with supply chain problems such as staffing shortages, distribution hangups, and delayed shipments have stymied progress. Japanese culture is also not particularly open to vaccination, tending to be suspicious of injections, making the task of herd immunity a monumental challenge. It remains to be seen if Japan can get from a state of emergency to a successful and Covid-19 safe Olympics in the span of just 90 days.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post and South China Morning Post


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  1. Japan is smart

    Friday, April 23, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    Japan is also one of the most educated and highest iq societies on earth… and they’re skeptical of the vaccine and not stupid to fact the deaths are few and dangers of covid are skewed heavily to the old an unhealthy.

    It’s not just trumpers and conspiracy people skeptical.

  2. EdwardV

    Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 4:19 am

    Japan is so skeptical of vaccines they only bought 310M doses of Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.

  3. Jayce

    Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 9:40 am

    Good let’s hope they have to cancel so that we also don’t have to have a debate on the moral implications of countries prioritizing the vaccination of the least likely people to die of catching covid: the young, healthy and well trained athletes.
    I think it’s quite objectionable to hear athletes moaning that they won’t be vaccinated on time to attend the Olympics when there’s people dying. Deaths that could have been avoided if those people’s vaccine doses hadn’t been used up by athletes. Even more vexing in light of the fact that some of these vaccines have already been given to athletes not knowing if the games will actually be able to go ahead.

  4. Buttaxe

    Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 9:52 am

    The government bought them Edward, governments rarely represent the people. Japanese are high IQ, knowledgeable hard-working people with the notable exception of the politicians and the police.

  5. Gosport

    Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    They can not say we canceal it now. They are waiting for the right time to say the most obvious matter.

  6. John Flynn

    Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    The media keep saying that the vax brings herd immunity but that’s a lie. Herd immunity occurs naturally when people all become immune due to virus contact. The vax doesn’t cause the herd immunity but it will cause plenty of other problems. Autoimmune disease has been predicted by the experts. The media are ramping up the rhetoric to counter the skeptics. Reports on Twitter say the “reported huge problems” with shortage of O2 in India is BS.

  7. Wayno

    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 2:58 am

    Japan high IQ ??? Don’t make me laugh, they still think they are going to host the Olympics. Delusional fools is how i would describe them

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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