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Abe's abrupt call to close schools triggers confusion

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But the policy was apparently made without coordination on relevant issues with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, as many officials were stunned by the news reports.

Geez like you all would have done any better?

-21 ( +18 / -39 )

I highly doubt the department of education really "cares" about the students or people.

I can't believe it. There was no consideration for people at the schools

The real issue is how will they properly justify long hours and forcing teachers to still come in when students are not there and they can clearly do their work at home. At this point in time, the students have studied most of what they should or can study. They have taken their entrance exams. Hopefully they can find some way to help the parents and other individuals take off from work as well. That is the bigger issue.

25 ( +32 / -7 )

"could result in a breakdown of Japanese society."

Ok this guy is taking it too far.

32 ( +43 / -11 )

Don't forget.... each year, each week in February (andJanuary too) there are thousands of school closures due to the flu. With one news article stating in February last year, in just one week, over 7000 schools were forced to close for a week. 7000!! crazy number!

So closing schools is pretty common. My daughters school gets at least one week of closure per year due to the flu. Schools are all indoors, so they are massive breeding ground and incubator for easily transmitted viruses. If one school kid gets it... game over for containment in that area, as by the time they know he has it, it will have spread all around the school, back to the homes, and from the homes out to work places, shops etc...

22 ( +26 / -4 )

It's been 10 years since SARS and the government supposedly has all these disaster planning committees and agencies yet there doesn't seem to be any contingency plans in place.

They didn't foresee that masks would run out, that schools might have to be closed. What have they been planning for for the last ten years?

They shouldn't be shooting from the hip here. A game plan should be in place.

I want a refund on my taxes.

31 ( +40 / -9 )

It is a wise and good decision made by PM Abe. Ive been critical of his other decisions during about this emergency - for example deciding to not stop ALL planes from China - but this is the right decision to limit the deadly virus spread to kids.

-12 ( +17 / -29 )

There was no consideration for people at the schools...well that is what you get when you put a childless bochama as your Prime Minister....Hey all the kids will go to Disney or USJ anyhow so if your going to stop the kids going to school you have to close down anywhere they can congregate put security guards on the borders of all parks too...It seems he is desperately trying to save face and he simply has no idea what to do..

9 ( +21 / -12 )

Dang if he doesn't do anything. Dang if he does. So difficult to keep people happy nowadays.

-3 ( +22 / -25 )

Considering that this virus is unusual in that children arent being affected and taking into account that many people are testing postive without symptoms - shutting schools could be a stoke of genius by Abe in that hes shutting down a mechanism that could unknowingly spread the virus.

This issue with working parents highlights a social issue - the isolation of society. If this had happened when I was a kid - my mother who wasnt working would have taken care of our double income neighbours kids. Should would have done it without even blinking. Today there is not that neighborhood, village support. many people dont know or trust their nieghbors anymore.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

The students must be over the moon with excitement. They will have no final exams. Woo! Hoo! Gotta feel a bit sorry for all the part time public school ALTs and other PT teachers though. They just lost their salaries for March. Whether or not closing the schools with have a positive or negative effect on the spread of the virus remains to be seen. The kids are probably more likely to come in contact with the virus outside school than in school.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Abe did abrupt right thing because Japan has little time left.

-22 ( +6 / -28 )

They shouldn't be shooting from the hip here. A game plan should be in place.

Why would the y need a plan? Up until yesterday you were telling us there is nothing to worry about. Did someone tell you to stop saying that and start in on this?

I want a refund on my taxes.

Do you even live here?

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

Statistically, the least at risk groups are the young so the decision is not based on scientific evidence.

Reducing the huge number of government workers commuting for a few weeks would reduce the infection rate far more...

22 ( +25 / -3 )

Here's to hoping that everyone in Tokyo and Japan, and everywhere else, can stay healthy and safe.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Necessary steps to contain the spread of this virus.

Making sure our children are safe and the virus is not spreading is more important than small inconvenience some of you are talking about.

No easy solution or fix to a complex problem, taking such precautions and working together with China and the rest of the world is the right step forward.

Lets remember this virus is temporary and it will pass, anti-China sentiments towards our neighbor will not fix it faster, playing the blame game will not get results quicker, being racist or bias won't help Japan's interest, won't help our relations with our most important neighbor who is willing to move on from past grievances, hasn't asked for compensation or apologies. Wants closer relations with Japan, many Chinese who love our culture. This is a misfortune and tragedy, but also an opportunity to work closer together.

Different land same Sky..

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

"It came out of nowhere. We are worried about confusion among schoolteachers, two-income households and schoolchildren."

I would be more worried about single parent households!

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Japanese government style:

!. Don't panic and take a relaxed approach towards the emergency problem in question.

Take steps which demonstrate a lack of concern about the problem, as with letting all of those potential carriers off the cruise (some of whom have already tested positive).

Panic accordingly to save public face when you realize that you've goofed in a major way on 1 and 2 above.
11 ( +16 / -5 )

"just wanted to show his leadership, as he was put into a corner politically”

more honest words have never been spoken.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

I suspect the real reason for this is the Olympics. This decision creates an international image of Abe being in control, decisive and extra cautious. It will inherently strengthen Japan's decision to continue with the Olympics and Paralympics preparation schedule..

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Mizuame, the Olympics is a big game. Abe did abrupt right thing to protect the game. Time is essential in this battle, and it has to be won many months ahead of the game.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

Crisis is litmus test of leadership. Next a few days, Abe will make more decisions.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Considering elections around the corner and people would have a memory for change with the opposition party on Abe's party on its heel, got to hand it, nice move. Of course it was a move that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, as many officials were stunned by the news reports because once again failed to protect our kids and make more careless risks with our kids lives. No more and hence thank the Abe administration for their action.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A political decision. By all accounts Shinzo didn't bother consulting the medical experts on his "task force" and didn't bother informing regional governors or municipal leaders in advance.

He was forced into a panic move by the threat of losing the Olympics.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

This was a rash and foolish decision and it will come back to bite Abe in the butt. He has thrown the country into chaos and it has had the opposite effect of what he wanted. Instead of it showing him to be decisive and in charge, it looks like he is running scared making ill informed decisions.

But the bigger problem is still the lack of testing being done. Everything is being coordinated through the local 保健所(Public Health Centers) and someone has told them not to test and risk reporting an increase in the number of affected people. This is the bigger problem. There are countless stories of people being quite ill, begging to be tested, and still they won't. Doctors have no better luck trying to persuade the 保健所 to test people. So while the numbers will stay low, the virus is continuing to spread.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Oh...I see my mistake...I should have understood when Abe was flapping his mouth on the News last night it was just a attempt to gain face with a 'request'.

He's off form though...he should have 'urged',

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Everything is being coordinated through the local 保健所(Public Health Centers) and someone has told them not to test and risk reporting an increase in the number of affected people.

Do you have some links to buttress that claim? I saw anonymous conmments from doctors on TV yesterday saying they'd received no instructions at all on what to do about testing from their local health authority and were in limbo. It would be nice to see clear evidence that the PHCs have been told not to test people.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I think closing the schools is the right decision! Others countries are doing it too and they’re managing just fine. I don’t like Abe, but announcing it like that at the last minute was probably the only way to make it happen. Can you imagine all the meetings and teeth sucking if he had gone through the regular channels? They would still be discussing closing schools in April!

For those of you worried about your teaching jobs, you’ll probably be ok as long as you’re salaried. This is Japan, so yeah, the kids will stay home, but the teachers will probably have to go in... remember typhoons and snow days? Plus, teachers have to prep for the new school year... it’s the busiest time of the year!

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

The students must be over the moon with excitement. They will have no final exams

I think most junior high and high school final exams are finished.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Some students will miss out on graduation ceremonies. 13 million public school children.

China has donated 12,500 Coronavirus testing kits.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I think the problem was not that Abe decision is correct or not. The problem is that he did it without discussing it and give clear instructions to the departments involve. He basically screw over all the officials in charge of these things and expect them to clean their mess.

For me i find that really wrong too. Is like when i working and my boss suddenly give me a assignment and expect me to deliver it by tomorrow without even briefing me about if the details and want to see perfect results. Why isn’t he communicating? What is his people even doing?

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's abrupt request on Thursday for all of Japan's schools to be closed from next week through early April amid concern over the spread of the new coronavirus has triggered confusion in the country, with bureaucrats expressing anger.

who cares what the bureaucrats think. They are responsible for this mess. I seldom if ever say this but good on Abe! well done! 

A senior ministry official said, "I can't believe it. There was no consideration for people at the schools."

why do you think he closed the schools you Idiot?? 

Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai also expressed strong concern in a Twitter post following news reports of the plan, writing that the blanket school closure "could result in a breakdown of Japanese society."

And a severe blanket contagion won't?? Idiot. 

I seldom praise Abe, but this is the first good decision he made.

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

Holed up in the house with 3 kids for one month? My wife is going to go crazy.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

Why not close colleges, universities and cram schools as well as English schools too.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Kids are at low risk from infection.

Kids will congregate elsewhere.

Teen pregnancy and will increase.

Was there any coordination with the ministry of health?

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

"the public does not know how to deal with the sudden policy change"

Haven't seen much public outrage over the decision, appears that bureaucrats and politicians are the folks who don't know how to deal with policy changes.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

No mater what Abe does hes wrong. He cant win.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

We should urge the prime minister to retract it.

Reverse urge!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Well done Abe. In the school I work at there are classes with more than fifty percent of the students already off school with flu. Yet the school wont close because they are terrified of the parents. It's about time government made the idiots in charge of education close down the schools. They are super breeding grounds and transmission sites for viruses. It's a dereliction of duty to force people together into poorly ventilated cramped classrooms during a potential deadly pandemic.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

citing "children's health and safety" as the top priority."

top priority, always, absolutely, but in this case, more than half of those children will still be at risk, because if they don,t go to school, they will still be going to other places, so on one hand we can say they will not catch the virus while going to school or at school but on the other hand we can also say they can catch the virus while going out with their friends. and in some cases, it might be even more dangerous because instead of being in school, they might go to places with big crowds ( in Tokyo, Osaka, etc )

like i read somewhere, if they wanna shut down schools they have to shut down everything ...

"Who will take care of the younger elementary school students? Junior high students would not just sit at home all day. So many issues would arise with a nationwide school closure that it cannot possibly be an option," another senior official said.

...

It came out of nowhere. We are worried about confusion among schoolteachers, two-income households and schoolchildren."

exactly ...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

LeoToday 08:56 am JST

No mater what Abe does hes wrong. He cant win.

Is that you, Akie?

He hasn't done anything himself. He's simply dumped the whole problem on the Education Ministry, prefectural governments and local mayors.

He did nothing for weeks, hoping that it would somehow magically go away. Now he's just dumping responsibility on other people, without even bothering to inform them in advance.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

It seems many nurses don't go to hospitals and many preschool teachers/nurses don't go to preschools because they have a little children and have to take care of them at home, so they can't go to work there. As a result hospitals and preschools and day care centers would be in a big panic. All seem closed finally.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Chaos is setting in & it doesn't look pretty!

Abe is getting really desperate to ""save"" 2020 games...….

Possibly too little too late & PLEASE stop pretending you CARE about regular Japanese people, jiminto has never given a damn about the man\woman on the street!

10 ( +14 / -4 )

It was coming sooner or later. Abe has already urged:

Offices to shutdown;

Factories to shutdown;

Sporting events to shutdown

I'm guessing with schools Abe decided sooner rather than later.

BTW, the WHO is saying every country will be infected, and that the rate of infections appears to be higher outside China than in China (but of course, take that with a grain of salt because China stats aren't reliable).

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Yet the school wont close because they are terrified of the parents

I've heard this too ^. A lot people are telling me some Japanese parents forces their kids to go to school even if they have influenza as some kind of ascetic practice.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Funny thing is yesterday everybody here was commending the Hokkaido governor for doing it. As soon as Abe does it, people are in utter disbelief about what working parents are going to do through this. People work in Hokkaido too you know.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

According to Kyodo, kids can still go to after school activities. So the virus is still open for business from 2:30-6:30.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Here in Italy we are living the same drama. Some politicians want to keep drastic measures, others say it's excessive and they are only hurting the economy. Some have also said something that is obvious at this point: some European Countries ARE NOT TESTING thousands of people like we are doing, to keep the numbers low. They are protecting their economy. But all of this is becoming ridiculous. It's not right that Countries like Italy, South Korea, Japan are treated as paria by the others only because they admitted there are many cases and they are taking some strict measures to prevent further spread of the illness. Countries like France, Spain, Germany are hiding their real numbers. Seriously, also assuming they were so "lucky" that nobody came back from China to their Country was infected, do you even know HOW MANY German tourists have been here in Italy in the past days? But they have less than 50 cases or whatever. Some Countries are not TESTING AT ALL to protect their economy. It's becoming absurd, I didn't think this could be real.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

The spreading is higher than announced originaly. Usual asian precaution all failed. The normal mask are not enough anymore and you never change them.

You need to raise you usual protection to be protected. Children are a spreading vector toward elderly. They tend to die from the virus a little bit too much.

°

NadAge.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Well, this does suck.

Had to tell my son this morning that this was his last day of school in his class. Normally he is so happy when told he can miss some school, but he was pretty bummed since it also means saying goodbye to his teacher and friends (most of whom won't be in his class next term).

This is pretty minor though, my spouse can take care of him while I'm at work. For everyone with both parents working this is going to be a major issue and it better be worth it.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@HawkeyeToday 

Why not close colleges, universities and cram schools as well as English schools too...Cram schools have closed Universities I dont know about and English schools will have to close..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why doesn't Abe just close off all flights from China and South Korea that would make more sense than hurting our children education.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I am glad I ordered off Amazon for my son and I the industrial masks with filters and just ordered washable filters they wont be a hundred percent safe proof, however, they are a step up from the paper masks.  In addition, I ordered safety glasses and disposable gloves and we will be wearing them out and we may look like Aliens at this point I really do not care.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

I don't understand why Abe is being criticized for an "abrupt" call for schools to be closed.

How else, other than "abruptly," is he supposed to make an announcement like that? "Gradually"???

I prefer to call his school-closure announcement "decisive," not "abrupt."

He's showing the decisiveness and leadership that, just a couple days ago, he was criticized for NOT showing. But now he's being criticized for THAT.

Make up your minds, people. I get it, you don't like Abe, and you'll criticize him no matter what he does.

But at some point, it's totally unfair to hold him to a rigid, unchanging damned-if-he-does-and-damned-if-he-doesn't standard.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

And remember that we EU Countries have Schengen: this means people of any Country can travel everywhere freely.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Why not close colleges, universities and cram schools as well as English schools too...Cram schools have closed Universities I dont know about and English schools will have to close..

University classes are already on break until the beginning of April anyway, so not much point in closing them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Im not a fan of Abe San but to be fair there is no win for him. No matter what he does there is some one waiting to take the opposite side. Like tryig to strike a compromise with narcissistic tendency. You just can't win. Maybe it's a taste of his own medicine or not but it is what it is (politcs) at a bad time.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Why not close colleges, universities

They are already on spring break, not such a big issue telling them to close. Most students (undergrads at least) are already absent.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Ministry of Education controls all schools and all teach the same curriculum it will be easy for teachers to continue their jobs teaching online, matter of fact might be better to continue that even after COVID -19 crisis ends have all classes taught online.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Just wear a mask, i heard it's the key to no getting the virus.

Hum.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Burning BushToday  06:55 am JST

It's been 10 years since SARS and the government supposedly has all these disaster planning committees and agencies yet there doesn't seem to be any contingency plans in place.

They didn't foresee that masks would run out, that schools might have to be closed. What have they been planning for for the last ten years?

ughhhh ! YOU had 10 years too! Why could you (we) not take some personal responsibility and have a stock pile of masks for such a situation. Why you need the govt to knock on your door with supplies? until recently you coulda bought as many masks as you wanted.... you seem to think if you see a plan not executed perfectly that they were not ready.....quit acting so hopeless

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Burning BushToday  06:55 am JST

It's been 10 years since SARS and the government supposedly has all these disaster planning committees and agencies yet there doesn't seem to be any contingency plans in place.

They didn't foresee that masks would run out, that schools might have to be closed. What have they been planning for for the last ten years?

ughhhh ! YOU had 10 years too! Why could you (we) not take some personal responsibility and have a stock pile of masks for such a situation. Why you need the govt to knock on your door with supplies? until recently you coulda bought as many masks as you wanted.... you seem to think if you see a plan not executed perfectly that they were not ready.....quit acting so hopeless

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Abe,  should have at the start of this closed off all the doors to China for the safety of Japan.  Now, that South Korea has this virus due to the cult and not the average South Korean should be closing doors to them as well.   There are only 2 weeks of school left, and Abe seen the signs and should have at the start of this past school week given heads up to all parents and the schools that may be a real possibility instead of springing it on everyone like a yo-yo up and down having parents scrambling.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Abrupt, nationwide school shutdown, without consent with people concerned, will take virtually no effect or make things worse, for working parents will have to look after kids at home at the expense of their work. What if they are medical professional? School shutdown will cause severe manpower shortage at hospitals, possible rising risk for patients under real threat.

Note that no single kid has died of Covid-19-led illness in Japan; their mortal rate is near to zero % even in epicentre China. Most victims are very elderly or those having other chronic disease.

A fact tells that the ordinary, seasonal flu is far more deadly to Japanese people, including kids; in the current season, 6.75 million have been infected, about 1,000 already dead. As for Covid-19, to date, less than 200 infected (landside Japan), nearly 10 dead. Let's think smart, be reasonable and act prudently.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Well thank you. My wife will be without a full month salary... since she's an english teacher.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

So all the ALT's/NET's/JET's can have a vacation home?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I have sons in elementary and junior high schools in Tokyo and I just heard about a kid in my son's school may have coronavirus. In the schools due to kids being kids I think it will spread like wildfire so this may be prudent. My son says his teacher is just gonna pile on the homework.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Time for schools and IT companies to roll out online classes. So kids can submit their work online and teachers can use video conferencing.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

He's trying to save his precious Olympics.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

*Note that no single kid has died of Covid-19-led illness in Japan**; their mortal rate is near to zero % even in epicentre China. Most victims are very elderly or those having other chronic disease.*

This is true. However, there is an important distinction to be made. While kids may not be getting ill from the virus, the still do get infected by the virus. In turn, they can infect their parents, grandparents I.e. those at greater risk from illness. Given how easily viruses tend to spread among kids, this move is more about protecting the adult population than the kids.

BTW, your flu comparison argument is completely flawed. There have been plenty of posts elsewhere explaining why, so I won't repeat here.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

In addition to all the working parents affected, I’ll feel bad for the kids - and their parents - who could miss out on a graduation ceremony because of this decision. Also that final month with their elementary school mates before they head off to junior high school...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Damned if he does and then really, really damned if he does not (heaven forbid if a school becomes a cluster).

Not a big Abe fan here but these are big decisions and I find it hard to criticize him for this as I am glad I am not on the hot seat.

The two recommendations which could be added are;

Teachers also stay home and do there work at home, and

Although the Chiba mayor may have went overboard when he mentions societal breakdown he made a good point that some provisions should be made for those such as "workers in medical institutions" or in other cases for childcare

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The real issue is how will they properly justify long hours and forcing teachers to still come in when students are not there and they can clearly do their work at home. 

But, that's exactly what they're doing. My BIL is a school principal in my town, and they are closed to students for two weeks, but staff must still report to work as usual. Is it illogical and counter-productive to reduce the spread of the virus? Sure. But, TIJ. It seems the only businesses allowing WFH (work from home) are western-owned and/or tech industry with its newer management style and younger employees.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well thank you. My wife will be without a full month salary... since she's an english teacher.

That has less to do with Abe's decsison and more to do with the crap contracts many ALTs have from shady ALT companies and the people willing to sign up and accept those terms.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Abe was being attacked on not dealing with the media hyped Corona Virus problem, attacked from all sides irrespective of the media's refusal to admit there is a less than normal loss of life when compared to the seasonal flue. So ABE has called their Bluff - now suddenly everyone is critical that ABE wants to do someting about Corona Virus to protect Japanese Youth?

The pandemic of Crona was created by clever fear mongerors to exploit the world wide stock markets.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Why do I have that strange feeling it's all about protecting his (Abe's) ego.

Why do I have the strange feeling it's about the Olympics?

What a (not so ) great decision he made, without even letting others know.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Interesting. A week ago, people were complaining that PM ABE was not doing enough to fight the virus. Now, he makes a bold decision to close schools to try to prevent the spread of the virus among Japan's children.

The reaction: As expected, criticism.

As one poster put it: Damned if he does and then really, really damned if he does not (heaven forbid if a school becomes a cluster).

and if a school did become a cluster? The response would be:

Why did you not close the schools? Japan is stupid. etc.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai also expressed strong concern in a Twitter post following news reports of the plan, writing that the blanket school closure "could result in a breakdown of Japanese society."

Nonsense.

First, almost all the school are in their final two weeks. The final two weeks are just a wrap up anyway.

Second, all the school would be on vacation for two weeks starting around 13th.

So, effective most of the students would have a month off anyway.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

How the hell are teachers expected to end the school year so abruptly without having the chance to inflict a spirit-crushing series of closing ceremonies upon the kids?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Well thank you. My wife will be without a full month salary... since she's an english teacher.

That has less to do with Abe's decsison and more to do with the crap contracts many ALTs have from shady ALT companies and the people willing to sign up and accept those terms.

I think the health of Japan's children is far far more important than ALTs-,most of whom don't how to teach-. and

a poster's wife's salary.

Back to you.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

...with bureaucrats expressing anger.

Tough luck. You're "civil servants," that means you do what the PM and other elected officials tell you to do. IT's called democracy.

"....prompted an education ministry official to speculate that the prime minister "just wanted to show his leadership..."

Well, that's because as prime minister, he is a leader, and you're not.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The issue is wider than just schools. There has always been a ganbare attitude about illness in Japanese society. Everyone wants to keep battling on even when they are sick and spreading their germs around the office to everyone else.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

FuzzyToday 11:02 am JST

**Note that no single kid has died of Covid-19-led illness in Japan**; their mortal rate is near to zero % even in epicentre China. Most victims are very elderly or those having other chronic disease.**

This is true. However, there is an important distinction to be made. While kids may not be getting ill from the virus, the still do get infected by the virus. In turn, they can infect their parents, grandparents I.e. those at greater risk from illness. Given how easily viruses tend to spread among kids, this move is more about protecting the adult population than the kids.

Yes! Fuzzy, thank you! At least someone here gets it!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Do next to nothing for weeks, then shoot from the hip after minimal consultation with experts and affected parties, giving no guidance as to practicalities. This is very poor leadership and smacks of anything to save the Olympics.

The big obvious question is since much of this is spring break, is this like gakkyu heisa and will all clubs be shut down too? Normally all kids in clubs would be going to school as normal during the holiday to go to club. With gakkyu heisa, kids are supposed to stay in the house, and not go to club or to the shops or the cinema, but that is four or five days at most. This is a month.

On the subject of graduations, while its good to mark stages in your life, many Japanese now get married (nyuseki) without a "shiki" or ceremony. If people can do that, I'm sure kids can come to the end of their time at pre-school or elementary school without needing a big ceremony for the certificate they automatically get regardless of achievement. It is only really sentimentality that places so much importance on this.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Fine but Abe is admitting he’s losing control, “Shut it down. Just shut it all down!”

3 ( +3 / -0 )

John BearaToday 10:33 am JST

Well thank you. My wife will be without a full month salary... since she's an english teacher.

unfortunate.

If she is a grade school teacher, perhaps she should investigate a direct hire gig. Even part time teachers get a set salary for 12 months and a small bonus.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

CaliboyToday  11:35 am JST

Interesting. A week ago, people were complaining that PM ABE was not doing enough to fight the virus. Now, he makes a bold decision to close schools to try to prevent the spread of the virus among Japan's children.

The reaction: As expected, criticism.

Well, of course. He spent so long being his usual useless, mediocre self that any bold decisions are now too late. Something that could have been the right decision two weeks ago is now likely to be just a knee-jerk response to criticism that makes the situation worse. He deserves all the criticism he gets.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If she is a grade school teacher, perhaps she should investigate a direct hire gig. Even part time teachers get a set salary for 12 months and a small bonus.

She is an assistante teacher in junior high school. She got 2 bonus per year. She is paying per hours. No work = no money.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Latest news for hour school.

Last school day will be next week Tuesday.

After that a long spring vacation for our students.

If they don't send me home I will get my salary.

But maybe "they" come up with some other ideas???

3 ( +3 / -0 )

GarthgoyleToday 07:01 am JSTDang if he doesn't do anything. Dang if he does. So difficult to keep people happy nowadays.

you must be new to this site...

GarthgoyleToday 07:01 am JSTDang if he doesn't do anything. Dang if he does. So difficult to keep people happy

and there, i fixed it for ya.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ DaDude

Funny thing is yesterday everybody here was commending the Hokkaido governor for doing it.

I was commending the Hokkaido governor for doing it. Nothing funny about it. The education board of Hokkaido called for the schools' closure because among the infected are students, a teacher and a school bus driver.And Gov Naomichi Suzuki also said "......there may be criticism that we are going overboard. But I will bear the responsibility..." While Abe abruptly made his decision after diving poll numbers, criticism of his non-leadership and talk that the Olympics may have to be cancelled. It was as usual for Abe an enitrely opportunistic show off and taking responsibility is not even on his mental horizon.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

To all those people saying Abe is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t - that may be true, but it’s not the point.

Abe is a charlatan. Like most members of the cabinet in Japan, he’s got to where he is because of his name and his family history. He has absolutely no idea what he’s doing most of the time, and says ‘what he thinks he should say’, rather than ‘what actually needs to be said’.

It’s possible for him to ‘fake it’ during normal times because of the political apathy in Japan and the mandatory backing he knows he’ll get from the media and his fellow cronies.

It’s only in unexpected times of crisis (or exposure), when these people get found out for the charlatans they are.

So, yeah, Abe might very well be criticised for closing schools, or keeping them open, or whatever, but the point is he shouldn’t be the one making these decisions because he’s never shown any aptitude to do so. The history of this man and his cronies doesn’t give me any confidence that he’s making informed decisions in good faith, for the good of the country, rather than for the good of himself, his name, his vanity projects, and his legacy.

I certainly hope that closing schools is the correct decision, but this comes 10 days after people were allowed to walk off the cruise ship and straight onto public transport - undoubtedly spreading the virus across the country.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

How about the English assistants ALT? Will they get salary during this closing period?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese government style:

!. Don't panic and take a relaxed approach towards the emergency problem in question.

Take steps which demonstrate a lack of concern about the problem, as with letting all of those potential carriers off the cruise (some of whom have already tested positive).

Panic accordingly to save public face when you realize that you've goofed in a major way on 1 and 2 above.

Sadly this not just Japanese government style this is also Japanese business style.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

wow so they don't have any plans for school closures either? What plans do they have?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@AMS

ALT and so on should read their contract and contact union / lawyer / labor office / ...

This seems to be hope to get 60% but you better get in touch with people which can help you sort out if that apply to your case and ensure you get it if that is the case.

http://www.generalunion.org/

1 ( +2 / -1 )

She is an assistante teacher in junior high school. She got 2 bonus per year. She is paying per hours. No work = no money.

I’m in a similar situation. There are quite a few part-time teachers in my school and we’re all paid by the class. The full-time teachers will be paid regardless of whether classes are held or not. Part time teachers - I have no idea yet but I have a feeling we won’t be. Irritatingly enough we’ll have to go into school anyway because we’re in the middle of grading tests, inputting data and writing reports.

I wish Abe had promised to guarantee the wages of part-time workers unable to work because of this decision. I’m not just talking about teachers - also parents who have to stay home now to take care of their kids. There are a lot of part-time workers in Japan, and the government should have at least thought of some measures to counteract how this will affect them. I get that public safety is important but just announcing the decision without putting in any measures to help with the repercussions indicates that this hasn’t been thought through properly.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

No surprise here as well. Always react instead of anticipate...useless!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sorry, teachers still have to go to their empty schools.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hard to know which is more ridiculous, Abe's kneejerk reaction, or the overreaction of those quoted here...

Invalid CSRF

1 ( +2 / -1 )

ALTs still need to go to work.

This is Japan, where apparently teachers and ALTs are immune from Covid-19.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A week ago, people were complaining that PM ABE was not doing enough to fight the virus. Now, he makes a bold decision to close schools to try to prevent the spread of the virus among Japan's children.

Explain how keeping kids out of school does anything to 'fight the virus'. As others have pointed out, some younger kids will still be gathered in the gakudo, syphoning up all the spare viruses that are going. Others will be at home with (probably) Mum, who will be forced to take time off from work. If she's a nurse or otherwise engaged in medical care, that's one less on the front line of fighting the virus.

Older kids will gather in groups, in their homes, on street corners, in game centres, where the Game of the Day will be Pass the Virus.

And, as others have also mentioned, many businesses will be short-staffed and many adults will be suddenly deprived of an income for no real reason but to make Abe 'look good' (He doesn't).

Invalid CSRF

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Abe decision is not so much the problem. The problem is , what can this virus do and where is it going ???. Is there something else, we must know ???.abt the virius, that we are not told yet ???.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why didn't he ask for private schools, plus kindergartens and day care centres to close too? Are children, younger than primary school age, immune to the coronavirus?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My own high school used to shut for nearly a month at this time of year - we called it the Easter Holiday. Society did not break down.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No one is talking about what the kids think about this!!

I am sure they have no problem not having to go school. Of course for those graduating that sucks but they can have a makeup ceremony in the coming months after the situation has faded.

Now the parents worried about the kids being home alone!! Come on now! Very easy. Get the JR/HS Kids to look after the little ones if the parents cannot be at home. Donate some Video game systems and smart phones and let the kids have fun at home.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

To Fuzzy

In turn, they can infect their parents, grandparents I.e. those at greater risk from illness.

Be smart. With all school closed, chances are that "virus-carrier" kids would have more contacts with those "vulnerable" adults at home under care. Most transmission cases in Japan have happened at home or work, not at school.

Comparative analysis (with impacts of other diseases) and prioritizing are valid and very significant, as in practice resources for medical services are not infinite despite expansion efforts underway. At many points, the course of actions for Covid-19 and ordinary flu is similar and overlapped. It's a zero-sum game format, with one being focused at the expense of the other, even though the latter is more deadly evidenced with valid data. Sure, Covid-19 has remain unknown, to be explored in several aspects, namely its longer subclinical stage. I only argue that nationwide school shutdown can never be a real solution. It's only a political gesture, and if so, I prefer and suggest a full and temporary entry ban against those having travelled around most affected areas.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Somehow I do not think this growing international crisis will be over before the Olympics is due to start.

There is currently no cure in sight, (for those in danger of fatality) nor a vaccination, and no scientist can say with certainty what the limit of incubation is before one shows symptoms, nor how it spreads when there are no symptoms, etc etc, and there are lots of theories, and some facts, which seems to keep changing....

And, as we are currently seeing, the virus is blooming all over the planet, amongst people who didn't travel to China, and who didn't know anyone who had done so.

So, frankly, I would not want my child, no matter if 5 or 50, travelling on public transport.

I sincerely hope I am wrong.

I sincerely hope the Olympics start as planned.

May our individual idea of God keep us all safe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People lose all common sense when faced with facts.

A virus such as this has not been seen before and currently has no cure. They don't even know where it came from. They posit it came from bats the virologist wasn't even sure but knowing where it came from at this point is not going to help the average person.

There is more than one flu going around on top of a measles outbreak in Kanto.

One of the flu's affects small children and the elderly and an result in death if not treated immediately. This is a separate virus than the Covid-19 one and has been going around since 2018. A ton of people have gotten it and have had fevers that lasted multiple days, dizzyness, weakness, shortness of breath. A ton of people have gotten it from their kids and at work. Especially from call centers and retail work where people don't have a choice but to communicate in boxed in environments. We had a call center that housed 5000 employees and the entire call center was infected with Swine flu. This the perfect environment for Covid-19.

The test needed to identify Covid-19 is not an off the shelf affair and the Chinese and Japanese government has stated that people that don't have flu symptoms can still be carriers. Wasting regular tests is not going to help anyone. Who do you think manufacturers the test in the first place? Where do they ship from? Why are the masks out of stock. Use your basic context clues.

If a government official says something to the effect of don't hang around large groups of people, ie at work or at school then there is a reason and saying that its going to end society at large is retarded. The longer people can stay away from each other the more likely the flu will have run its course since there has been no announcement on how long it takes to stop being contagious. I'd rather someone tell us that up front than to find out months later when alot of vulnerable people are dead.

Think about the population size of China and compare it to Japan and the US. You know the official numbers of people that have died are not being reported accurately because some people died months ago before anyone was even aware in the media that it had spread. But you can see the results by looking at the number of people that have died on the cruise ship. Do you really think that your office ventilation system is vastly better? The AC system in a building that doesn't bring in fresh air or recirculate air through a bacterial inhibitor (UV-C) system or physical bio-filters is nothing but a lint trap for the flu. And there are currently no regulations in the building industry to prevent the spread of viruses.

Watch this video by the WHO and think about what would happen if another plague level event happened because some dumb people want to go to work or they want to send their children back into the same environment. A complete disregard for peoples lives because an employer is more import than the workers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dDD2tHWWnU&t=174s

Japan's elderly population could take a direct hit if people want to ignore any of this even if the death count is considered small now. Say goodbye to your the grandparents that managed to survive not get pneumonia. Compound sicknesses usually are never taken into consideration till after a patient has contracted something else like strep, upper respiratory infections, etc.

Someone said that they didn't want their kids at home because they would be bored. Better they are bored than dead or almost dead in the hospital. They also were worried for the parents. Maybe its time for them to learn how to take care of their kids rather than having school baby sit them all day.
0 ( +1 / -1 )

@noriahojanen

Be smart. With all school closed, chances are that "virus-carrier" kids would have more contacts with those "vulnerable" adults at home under care.

Your comment that the "virus-carrier" kids pose a greater risk if kept at home is valid only if the kids are already infected. If they are kept at home before infection that argument falls apart.

Also, comparisons help only when you compare like things. While you say that the flu "currently" is more deadly because it has killed more to date, do you at least acknowledge that, based on current knowledge of covid-19, it could potentially end up being far more devastating over time? Given the potential, shouldn't we be over cautious rather than complacent? At least with the flu we know what we are dealing with. With covid there is still much that is unknown and won't be known until well after it has played out. Why chance it?

I don't for a second think the school closures are "the" answer. I also agree it is politically motivated and in my opinion too little, too late. But I would argue that the same can be said for entry bans. Too little, too late. Does that mean we shouldn't bother with them? Absolutely not.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Medical experts claiming there will be little benefit from closing the schools and is a political decision, not a medical one.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Fuzzy,

If properly managed, schools can function as a confinement house monitoring and regulating kid's behavior, away from infection risks. Such wouldn't be guaranteed at home; despite warning and parental oversight kids are likely to sneak out, involuntarily expose themselves to the virus.

Covid-19 is highly unlikely to evolve into a deadly one. In fact, updates and credible info suggest the otherwise. As for "unknown yet" issue, even the seasonal flu remains unknown in many critical aspects despite abundant data sets available ... but have people ever gone panic claiming "this virus could become devastating over time?" It also depends on readiness and availability of medical services. A very moderate pathogen could kill a lot if hospitals' capacity is limited or unprepared. The proposed nationwide school shutdown could inhibit upgrades of medical services, for working adults in the field would have to stay at home for childcare.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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