Why is Japan NOT receiving due respect for its success?

Why is Japan not receiving its due for its success in the fight of Covid-19?

In response to the decrease in the rate of new coronavirus cases, the Japanese government has lifted the state of emergency in 39 prefectures. Tokyo and seven prefectures will maintain restrictions, possibly until the end of May or a week earlier.  The Stay at Home initiative put in place during Golden Week has worked well, and things are looking better in Japan. The criteria for lifting the state of emergency include the number of new cases per day remaining at 0.5 or below per 100,000 people. The number of available hospital beds and the number of those in serious condition are also being taken into consideration.

 The statistics on COVID-19 by country are as follows.


Reported cases and deaths by country

Source: Worldometers. Info. Last updated May 14, 2020.

 As these figures show, the situation in Japan in terms of the numbers of cases and deaths is far better than in other countries. In particular, we believe that the true measure of success or failure in the fight against COVID-19 is not the number of cases but that of total deaths. Further, Japanese hospitals have been meeting the demand.

 Japan has presently succeeded in achieving stabilization in the face of a potential catastrophe, while many other countries are struggling with the increasing spread of the novel coronavirus.

 However, why do BBC, CNN, and  other foreign media networks disregard Japan, and why is Japan not receiving its due for its success? Japan has not been met with a commensurate level of recognition or respect in mainstream or social media.

There are several possible reasons for this. The primary reason is the lack of widespread PCR testing in Japan. At first, the Japanese government took a passive approach to testing to avoid overwhelming hospitals. There was a shortage of test kits, experienced medical staff, and hospitals capable of collecting specimens. However, the government came to recognize the importance of testing and made an effort to increase testing volume, although it has not reached the level of other countries.

 Second, the Diamond Princess Cruise ship quarantine attracted attention in February, when COVID-19 had not yet spread to the US and Europe. Western media criticized the Japanese reaction when discharged passengers were allowed to make their way into Tokyo public transportation system. It must be observed that the Diamond Princess Cruise ship sails under a UK flag, and the operator is a US shipping company. It is important to clarify where the responsibility lies.

 Third, the Tokyo Olympic Games were scheduled to open in July 2020. Consequently, foreign media have viewed the Japanese government with suspicion, as if Japan was hiding the true scale of the outbreak to allow the Olympics to go forward. This is inaccurate.

 Overall, we merely wanted to note that large international media networks, such as the BBC and CNN, often misunderstand or ignore Japan. Japan has stayed calm in this crisis, while other countries have panicked. The Japanese may need to offer more information about Japan themselves. In any case, we all want to return to normal life as soon as possible.

Posted on May 17, 2020