More than one month has passed since the Japanese government lifted its state of emergency on May 25 and the Tokyo metropolitan government also lifted ‘Tokyo Alert’ on June 11. However, new coronavirus infection cases in Japan, particularly in large cities in the Tokyo metropolitan area, have tended to rapidly increase since early July, and the number of new daily cases of infection frequently exceeds that of before May 25 or June 11. In addition, experts express their concerns about the arrival of the secondary wave of infections. Meanwhile, the government and all the prefectures are determined to activate socio-economic activities as soon as possible, making the best efforts to prevent the new coronavirus infections. This task, however, is one of the most difficult decisions in politics because two contradictory requirements have to be coordinated rationally. If we politicians make a mistake in judgment, it will become a great problem.
While we are concerned about the rapidly increasing number of infected patients, we feel reassured to hear that medical facilities and personnel are considerably well organized anywhere in the country at present. However, having been requested to stay home for the past four months, people’s economy and livelihood are seriously affected and the damages they suffered are almost irreparable. Restrictions on people’s move across prefectures and on participation in large-scale assemblies are being deliberately eased, and people are encouraged to travel within Japan under the government’s ‘Go To Travel’ campaign. Professional baseball league reopened, allowing a limited number of fans to return to the stadium.
Nobody knows or can predict what will be the result of new coronavirus infection. Will it end completely? Or will all measures fail and end in a pandemic again? I presume that all leaders representing various fields in Japan as well as the Prime Minister, the Diet members, governors, mayors, and other political leaders are praying every day for the situation to get better. After all, we have no choice but to rely on each and every person. What we can do is to wear masks, wash hands, avoid crowded places where many people gather together, avoid confined places without any windows or ventilation, avoid close-contact between two persons, and to avoid going out except for essential needs.
Compared with large countries’ new coronavirus infection cases in the world, Japan’s cases are reported to be very few. The global infection cases are 12 million and deaths are about 550,000, and the US cases are about 3 million— the highest in the world—and deaths are about 130,000. On the other hand, Japan’s infection cases are about 20,000 and deaths are about 1,000. (For details, please refer to: ‘The current situation of new coronavirus infection cases and measures to respond to it by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW)’: Press Release dated July 10, 2020. MHLW) Although it is difficult for me to find out the reason why Japan’s infection cases are few, I may say that the Japanese people are working hard to try to control new coronavirus infections. In an article of an international comparative study of new coronavirus infections, it is reported that the survey showed 10% of the Japanese people answered to the questionnaire that they believe it is personal responsibility to prevent the infections, while only 1% of Americans answered the same. Most of the Americans answered that it is other people’s responsibilities, particularly the government’s. This questionnaire may tell us that, after all, individual efforts of citizens are the key to controlling the infections.
In order for the people to end new coronavirus infections completely and recover their economy and livelihood as soon as possible, it is important to keep the fundamental rules mentioned above.