Japan and COVID-19 | Discuss Japan

Infectious Disease Response — to see the forest, not just the trees: What differentiated Japan from the Western countries?

OSHITANI Hitoshi, Professor, Department of Virology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine

Interview: Grand challenges posed to humanity by a viral disease

OMI Shigeru, Vice Chair, Novel Coronavirus Expert Meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, interviewed by Takase Fumihito, editor, Gaiko (Diplomacy)

Building International Cooperation in Infection Control Measures: The Role of Japanese Diplomacy as We Enter the Post-Coronavirus World

SAKABE-MORI Aki, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba

How Should We Confront COVID-19?

Oshitani Hitoshi, Professor, Department of Virology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine   This is a republication of Prof. Oshitani’s message as published on the website of the Department of Virology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine during the period February 4–22.   There is no end in sight to the infectious spread of 2019-nCoV (COVID19) that started in China. The true nature of this virus is gradually coming to light. There still remains much that we do not know, but I would like to consider how Japan and the international society should respond to this virus in light of what we do know. Firstly, the virus that is causing this was quickly identified by Chinese scientists and its gene sequence has been publicized. As a result, we know that the virus is closely related to SARS-CoV, which caused a global outbreak in 2003. ... [Read more]

COVID-19 Pandemic and the Economy: Need Sound Public Finance for Maintaining Social Safety-Net

Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, Professor of Economics, Princeton University   Key points Should corporate bankruptcies increase, credit crunch may follow Postponing retirement is more effective than high inflation for fiscal consolidation Promoting open economy is important for growth after the containment of COVID-19   Following COVID-19 pandemic and government restrictions on social and economic activities, the global economy plunged into the deepest recession of the postwar era and the lives of people have been affected profoundly. This article discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, policy responses and the future direction from a macro-economic perspective. The COVID-19 pandemic makes it difficult to engage in activities that involve social contact and possibility of infection. Consumption, especially services consumption in restaurants, leisure and hospitality, has decreased significantly. Let us look at consumption and employment in the United States by referring to data collected by Professor Raj Chetty of ... [Read more]

We Are Approaching the Limits of Having Only Policies that Preserve Employment!: The Largest Number of People Taking a Leave of Absence Since World War II—What Has Happened in the Labor Market?

Genda Yuji, Professor, University of Tokyo Only a Slight Increase in Unemployment in April When the declaration of a state of emergency was issued for all of Japan due to the spread of COVID-19 in April 2020, the survival of many companies was in jeopardy and the Japanese workplace faced unprecedented difficulties. Job opportunities collapsed and there was concern that we might see workers lose their jobs and struggle to survive. According to the Labor Force Survey by the Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, released at the end of May, the number of workers across Japan was reduced by 1.07 million (seasonally adjusted) in just one month from March to April when infections rapidly spread. As a great reduction from the previous month since May 1953 when comparisons can be made, it was second to the 1.13 million workers from January ... [Read more]

Future Direction of International Trade Systems: Institutions matter – a rise of “peer value chains”

Inomata Satoshi, Chief Senior Researcher, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)   Key points Institutional similarity will be even more important in shaping global value chains than geographical proximity Multinational firms will seek to offshore production to countries with robust institutions akin to their home business environment Complete decoupling of the world economy is inconceivable, but partial decoupling is probable   According to Richard E. Baldwin, Professor of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, the international production system is based on tri-polar networks of Factory Asia, Factory North America and Factory Europe. Namely, global value chains (GVC) are not truly global, but are more likely to be regional. How will GVC look like in the post-COVID19 world? They are considered to evolve from regional value chains based on geographical proximity to production networks connected through institutional similarity (of legal ... [Read more]

What of the United States? Or Japan? New Visions of Leadership under COVID-19: How Will Leaders Engage the Libertarian Youths Sweeping over the World?

Uno Shigeki vs Watanabe Yasushi The True Nature of Leaders Uncovered in Crisis ―What are your views on the success stories and failures of different countries’ leaders in their COVID-19 responses? Uno Shigeki: When it comes to COVID-19 measures, it’s said that the East Asian countries that have taken a micro approach of tracking individual behavior have been more successful that the European countries that have focused on lockdowns. However, the causal link between differences in policy and the infectious spread is complex. It’s true that the exposure of political leaders has surged due to increasing social media contact by staying at home, but it’s still unclear what difference it’s made in terms of preventing infections. Having said that, it’s also not so that it’s the same the world over. As the first stage of focusing solely on preventing the spread of the virus ... [Read more]

How to Face up to an Uncompromising China? (II): China’s Economy Towards a Stronger Governance Coexisting with Negotiations/Coordination with US

Ito Asei, Associate Professor, University of Tokyo   Key points Toward an “unknown normality” after the US-China conflict and COVID-19 Stronger governance and a more sophisticated, expanding Chinese economy Japan to continue to exert influence on thoughtful action   The concept of the new normal entered the picture after the advent of the Xi Jinping administration. The end of the rapid economic growth and China becoming a middle-income country transformed national issues. The new normal indicated that the administration recognized this fact. But now, after the US-China conflict and COVID-19, China’s political economy finds itself in an unknown normality in a dual sense. This article will confirm the economic situation during the COVID-19 crisis and examine trends in China from the perspective of structural change. There are both strong and weak aspects to the economy in China after COVID-19. At the start of the ... [Read more]