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COVID-19 Coronavirus: situation in Japan

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thomas

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I thought it would be useful to have one thread dedicated to the COVID-19 situation in Japan. With the number of infections increasing the government still believes that the current status does not warrant a general lockdown. Social distancing measures, too, haven't really taken hold yet. As I cycled down the river yesterday, people were still enjoying hanami, parks and playgrounds were crowded.

Meanwhile, the government pledged to send two masks to each household in Japan. Abenomasks, as they have been called by the (social) media:

abenomasks.jpg





Furthermore, the government decided to support households in need with a handout of 300,000 JPY. "In need" refers to households whose income has decreased to a certain level. According to the government, this measure would apply to 10 million of Japan's 58 million households.

 

mdchachi

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America seems to think things are getting dangerous in Japan. Although rushing back to America is not necessarily safe either considering the outbreak is weeks away from peaking there.
 

bentenmusume

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I wonder if it applies to self-employed people ?
The specifics of the assistance package haven't been finalized yet. The Japanese government hasn't even announced yet how, specifically, they will be determining who is eligible for the payment. That said, nothing I have seen suggests that self-employed individuals will be excluded from this. Quite the contrary, there seems to be a recognition these people are among those suffering the most from this situation.
 
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thomas

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The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare released a map showing 13 new clusters in Japan at the end of March:

jp-clusters.jpg


At the end of March, there were a total of 26 clusters in 14 of the nation’s 47 prefectures — up from 13 in eight prefectures at the last count. Places, where five or more people were infected with the virus, are shown as clusters on the map. According to the revised map, Miyagi, Gunma, Ibaraki, Gifu, Kyoto and Oita prefectures saw clusters develop for the first time, with the combined number of cluster sites in the six prefectures coming to eight. Five more cluster sites in total were added in Tokyo, and in Chiba, Kanagawa and Hyogo prefectures. Clusters tend to occur in closed, crowded places involving close contact, ministry officials said, adding that such group infections have so far been seen in environments such as medical and welfare facilities used by many elderly people, and locations where people breathed hard while singing loudly or doing exercise. [Source]

357 new infections across Japan yesterday:

 

musicisgood

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The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare released a map showing 13 new clusters in Japan at the end of March:

View attachment 31490




357 new infections across Japan yesterday:


I can easily see the figures shooting up to a level that its impossible to test the numbers daily.
Someone said like over 25 million people live in Tokyo and surrounding areas ?
And they still take the trains and subways.

Will they open school next week?
I sure hope not.
 
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thomas

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Meanwhile, numbers in Tokyo are still climbing: 143 new infections today. According to the Minister of Economic and Fiscal Policy, we are on the brink of the brink. The Prime Minister, however, is still cautious about declaring a state of emergency. I wonder what's the threshold.



Apart from Tokyo, so far hardest hit, the governors of Osaka, Fukui, Fukuoka, Miyagi and Ibaraki also asked people to stay at home at the weekend.

This has been on the news channels the whole day:

Officials have said the numbers of young patients and those with no clear infection routes are increasing, and are urging people to avoid going out at night. The request comes after the confirmation of a series of cluster infections in entertainment and amusement districts.
 

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Wife just informed me that they (hospitals ) are only going to take patients for the corona virus. That just may only be govt. hospitals and I know they close down on Saturday and Sunday, so I wonder how that will work out.
 

musicisgood

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So are they going to let kids go to school by train, bus, subway tomorrow or Wednesday. This is crazy if they do.

What are your guys thoughts about this ?
 

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Meanwhile, numbers in Tokyo are still climbing: 143 new infections today. According to the Minister of Economic and Fiscal Policy, we are on the brink of the brink. The Prime Minister, however, is still cautious about declaring a state of emergency. I wonder what's the threshold.



Apart from Tokyo, so far hardest hit, the governors of Osaka, Fukui, Fukuoka, Miyagi and Ibaraki also asked people to stay at home at the weekend.

This has been on the news channels the whole day:
That revitalisation minister in the "brink of the brink" article annoyed me. I'm getting sick of hearing young people in Japan being blamed for the spread of the virus by old people, who have all of the power but are showing no leadership at all.
 

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It's annoying and unfathomable why they wouldn't even listen to the experts. Does it need a few more dead celebrities?

This is already a week old:

 

thomas

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Tonight, the PM finally declared a state of emergency, effective tomorrow and targetting
  • Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa, Hyogo, Osaka and Fukuoka
  • for a period of one month (8 April to 6 May).

This state of emergency will not be a formal lockdown as imposed in other nations but more of a request by prefectural governors to stay at home. The Japanese emergency laws are toothless and do not stipulate penalties for ignoring those requests.


 

mdchachi

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This state of emergency will not be a formal lockdown as imposed in other nations but more of a request by prefectural governors to stay at home. The Japanese emergency laws are toothless and do not stipulate penalties for ignoring those requests.
Well the good news is that the Japanese are more likely to actually follow these requests. New York just raised their fine from $500 to $1000 to try to get people to comply. And many people who should know better are flaunting these laws.
 

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Well the good news is that the Japanese are more likely to actually follow these requests. New York just raised their fine from $500 to $1000 to try to get people to comply. And many people who should know better are flaunting these laws.
Yep. It drives me nuts the number of people who say the Japanese should be treated just like (usually Americans) and how all these laws and declarations need some almighty sharp teeth or Japanese will flout them all just like ( usually Americans.)

Those people often say such things on the heels of a small minority of Japanese non-compliers, completely ignoring the fact that despite the draconian measures there are more (usually Americans) flouting the laws and declarations and more outrageously and dangerously too.

Yet any other Sunday they are whining about how Japanese are not at all like (usually Americans). (sigh)
 

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Not that I am in agreement but these charts could be used to make the case for the declaration of the state of emergency and its timing.

Numbers of everything were rising steadily until a few days ago when the curves started rising sharply.

 

Mark of Zorro

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I don't know what all the state of emergency is going to entail but I sure am glad I don't live in Tokyo or a prefecture that is under the declaration.

I am also not sure what all my prefecture imports that goes through Tokyo or how any of that will be affected.

But I have been steadily stocking up on canned food, water, potatoes and rice.

And I usually have a lot of kerosene but as the price has been high I was running really low. The price dropped a bit and being unsure how all this will affect prices, I stocked up to half capacity.

I also filled my car's gas tank even though it was already half full.

I also got a cash withdrawal. Not anything out of the ordinary but maybe a couple days sooner than I would have otherwise.
 

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Honestly, even with the state of emergency, it's not as if we're seeing the strict legal restrictions on going out, restaurants operating, and so on and so forth that are happening in New York, Paris, etc. etc.

More and more businesses are closing their offices and shifting to remote work, and more and more restaurants and izakayas are switching their focus to takeout food (but usually with a small eat-in space for people who are waiting), but you still see people on trains and walking about the neighborhood.

I guess we'll see what comes from this. I'm just doing my best to support local businesses as I can, and just hoping that this is all over sooner rather than later (while acknowledging, deep down, that it almost certainly won't be).
 

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We are in Kanagawa, and it's not as if we are under siege. People commute to Tokyo, kids play outside and the supermarkets are stocked (meat and pasta still seem to be in short supply though). No queues at the groceries or petrol stations, only in front of drug stores, but that's about masks, not toilet paper.

Let's hope that the number of infections will "peak out" soon (another Anglicism that entered the Japanese language after "cluster", "lockdown" and "overshoot").
 

musicisgood

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'm curious what the US Embassy knows that what we should know and be prepared for. I think unemployment at the end of this month will be a "real" major concern to the Japanese govt. I wonder how they will handle it. I understand that there are still thousands in temp housing due to the Tsunami.
Here is what the US Embassy mailed out yesterday.











dos_image.jpg


Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Tokyo (April 7, 2020)
Location: Japan
Date: April 7, 2020

Suspension of Routine Passport and Citizenship Services

On April 2, 2020, the U.S Department of State suspended processing of routine passport and citizenship services for U.S. citizens overseas. As of April 8, 2020, and in accordance with this worldwide directive, the Embassy and consulates in Japan have canceled all routine passport and citizenship appointments. Until further notice, we are only able to issue limited validity emergency passports.

Because of the State Department’s suspension of processing, we are currently unable to issue Consular Reports of Birth Abroad citizenship documents for infants and children. However, we can document the child’s citizenship with an emergency passport, and we strongly encourage families to apply for such documentation.

To request an appointment for an emergency passport, including for an infant or child who has not previously been documented as a U.S. citizen, please contact the Embassy or consulate nearest you for assistance. If you have previously applied for a passport or citizenship service, and are still awaiting receipt of your documents, you should expect significant delays receiving your passport and your citizenship evidence.

State of Emergency in Japan

Certain areas of Japan continue to experience significant increases in COVID-19 cases. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced that because of the coronavirus pandemic he intends to declare a state of emergency April 7 for seven prefectures – Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka – for a period of around one month. Please monitor trusted media outlets and refer to Japanese government announcements for up-to-date information on protective measures being taken in the area where you reside.

Residents of Tokyo should check the Tokyo Metropolitan Government website for updates and information in English on COVID-19.

Decrease in International Flights

Only about 10 percent of the pre-COVID-19 commercial flight capacity between Japan and the United States remains in operation. Moreover, as of April 10, direct flights between the U.S. and Japan will only be available from Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports Travelers currently in Japan seeking return flights to the United States are urged to consult with their air carriers on arrangements to depart immediately while commercial flights are still available. U.S. citizens should bear in mind that possible further decreases in flights may make it more difficult or even impossible to return to the United States for a family emergency in a timely manner. U.S. citizens who are not planning to return to the United States should be prepared to remain indefinitely in Japan. More generally, U.S. citizens who reside abroad should avoid all international travel.

At this time, Japanese authorities advise that passengers transiting Tokyo’s Narita or Haneda airports will still be allowed to proceed to their onward destinations in other countries, provided they do not attempt to clear immigration. Passengers will not be permitted to transit between airports or transfer from an international flight to a domestic flight.
 

Mark of Zorro

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'm curious what the US Embassy knows that what we should know and be prepared for.

I am not sure what that means but I think people who work for the U.S. government generally tend to be "true believers" or those that kowtow to that line. Thus, the situation in America could be 10 times worse than Japan and they would still encourage Americans to come home....cause everything is better with a U.S. flag flying around you somewhere I guess.

I will stay here, even more easily than I did during the tsunami and nuke disaster combo. Not that I deride those who escaped generally. We all have our own situations. I probably would have left and would now if I could truly say I had somewhere better to go. America is a big place after all and plenty of places are far from the problems of New York City.
 

mdchachi

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We are in Kanagawa, and it's not as if we are under siege. People commute to Tokyo, kids play outside and the supermarkets are stocked (meat and pasta still seem to be in short supply though). No queues at the groceries or petrol stations, only in front of drug stores, but that's about masks, not toilet paper.

Let's hope that the number of infections will "peak out" soon (another Anglicism that entered the Japanese language after "cluster", "lockdown" and "overshoot").
My colleagues in Japan are working from home, yet my coworker told me just now that they had a senior management meeting held in the office in Tokyo.
This is ridiculous as we are technology company. Plus all these senior managers are 60+ years old which put them at high risk for poor outcomes if they get sick. Maybe they couldn't figure out how to use Microsoft Teams at home. Or they are just complacent.

Anyway I wouldn't worry about sustained shortages. So far that hasn't been a problem anywhere in the world that I've heard of.

Oh regarding preparation, one thing you might want to do is get a haircut significantly shorter than usual. If they shutdown hair salons like they have here, it could be a while. You might even consider getting a clipper and a style that you can get do at home. I'm hopeful it won't get that bad in Japan but just an idea.
 
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I don't know what all the state of emergency is going to entail but I sure am glad I don't live in Tokyo or a prefecture that is under the declaration.

I am also not sure what all my prefecture imports that goes through Tokyo or how any of that will be affected.

But I have been steadily stocking up on canned food, water, potatoes and rice.

And I usually have a lot of kerosene but as the price has been high I was running really low. The price dropped a bit and being unsure how all this will affect prices, I stocked up to half capacity.

I also filled my car's gas tank even though it was already half full.

I also got a cash withdrawal. Not anything out of the ordinary but maybe a couple days sooner than I would have otherwise.
Don't forget your vitamin C intake! A large bottle of concentrated lemon juice for cooking is good, and you can always use it when you cook stuff - roast potatoes with honey, rosemary, olive oil (or butter) and lemon is one of my favourites.
I don't think there are going to be major shortages in the short term (the next month or two), and I even saw a reasonable amount of toilet paper for sale today. However, I'm worried that the peak in Japan will coincide with the rice planting, which could affect rice supplies from the autumn.
 

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Update from Kobe, Hyogo. One of the 7 prefectures. My kids were supposed to school again today but they postponed it until after golden week 5/8. My youngest one was supposed to have his opening ceremony at the ES but that has been changed to an information day and only one parent is allowed to join (kids can still wear suits if they want).

I work at an international school (morning classes kids ages 2-6 and afternoon classes for kids ages 4-12) and all classes have been cancelled as well. Part-time teachers don't have to work but can still get 60% of their pay and full time teachers need to use their paid days off (although it seems full time workers can get that as well soon). It's just my manager and I that are working instead of having 8-10 staff at school. Was thinking of not to work as well but as I just commute for 7 minutes on train and just work with my manager (who comes to school by bike) I feel I'd rather get paid 100 than 60, but will keep an eye on the situation.


I really don't want to stay inside when I still feel it's safe so I'm still going to work and use it for prep time these upcoming weeks. If the situation changes I will stay at home although I think that would be more depressing but ... Acceptance and routine is something they say will help.

In the area where I work (nishinomiya kitaguchi) there are a lot of schools and shopping malls but lots of shops were closed and it was pretty quiet at the station as well.
 

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