Politics | Discuss Japan - COVID-19

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Politics  Mar. 9, 2021

The Prime Minister’s Office was astounded by the sudden school closure request: The verification and validation of COVID-19 measures in 2020

The truth and fiction about the Japan model summed up by the COVID-19 Independent Investigation Commission: Why was Japan able to keep COVID-19 deaths low? ― The reality was a series of provisional responses.   Funabashi Yoichi, Chairman, Asia Pacific Initiative   The pace of the increase in newly reported COVID-19 infections is accelerating in Europe. On the other hand, the number of infections in Japan has been at comparatively low levels, with approximately 1,700 deaths or approximately 13 deaths per million people as of the time of this writing. Considering that COVID-19 deaths in the United States and the United Kingdom are up to 50 times greater, and the deaths even in Germany are nine times greater, the COVID-19-related mortality to population ratio in Japan is clearly low compared to other advanced industrial nations. When he ended the state of emergency, the then-Prime ... ... [Read more]

Politics  Jan. 14, 2021

Employment policy issues in light of Abenomics: Aims of the policy to raise the minimum wage and negative scenarios

Genda Yuji, Professor, University of Tokyo Context for the increase in the number of workers during the Abe administration In response to the end of the second Abe Shinzo administration, the longest serving cabinet in the history of constitutional government in Japan, newly appointed Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide signaled that he would continue the policies of the previous administration. On August 28, 2020 when then Prime Minister Abe held a press conference to announce his unexpected resignation, he cited the increase in the number of workers as part of his self-assessment of the administration. In actual fact, between 2012, when Abe became prime minister for the second time, and 2019, before the spread of COVID-19, Japan as a whole recorded a substantial increase of 4.44 million workers (Labour Force Survey” by the Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications). Previously, the number of ... ... [Read more]

Archives, Politics  Oct. 22, 2020

Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide’s “Plan for the New Administration”: The COVID-19 National Crisis: A Political Vacuum Is Impermissible

Suga Yoshihide, Cabinet Chief Secretary (currently Prime Minister of Japan)   Editor’s note: Following the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Abe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide (now prime minister) outlined his “Plan for the New Administration” in this article published in the run-up to the LDP presidential election held to replace Abe.     As Japan is currently facing a national crisis in the fight against COVID-19 and leadership is needed to deal with the challenge of the compatibility between preventing the spread of infections and socio-economic activities, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo suddenly announced his resignation for health reasons. I can only imagine what regret the prime minister must be feeling as he steps down from the great mission of commanding the troops. Right up until Prime Minister Abe announced his resignation, I was saying that “I’m not thinking about running.” The question was ... ... [Read more]

Archives, Politics  Sept. 29, 2020

Challenges Exposed by COVID-19: Forward-Leaning Experts and Recoiling Politics

Makihara Izuru, Professor, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST), University of Tokyo People’s Anger without an Outlet Amid rapidly rising numbers of people infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the declaration of a state of emergency was issued in seven prefectures on April 7 and then applied nationwide on April 16. Yet the infectious spread did not stop and the declaration was extended until May 31 on May 4. The following day, on May 5, I was met with a bizarre sight at a drug store on the outskirts of Tokyo that I happened to visit. The shelves were almost completely empty of face masks, antiseptics, toilet paper, tissue paper, and even soap. In that crowded space, people’s eyes appeared somehow filled with desperation and gone was the carefree atmosphere that usually exists. The declaration of a state of emergency was subsequently lifted ... ... [Read more]