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Japan must co-exist with virus while achieving growth, says minister

108 Comments
By YURI KAGEYAMA

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But medical experts warn it should expect a surge of COVID infections in the next few weeks. Daily reported cases are totaling several thousand nationwide, roughly tripling from last week.

Blame the Japanese government for creating an obvious unsafe working environment. Much like it was during the Olympics, returnees arriving at Japan’s international airports encounter superfluous numbers of workers guiding returnees through the four-hour quarantine maze. These **close-contact workers often have only a mask providing them protection. After interacting with returnees (some who test positive), those close-contact workers go home on public transport and interact with their friends and family.** The returnees, on the other hand, are sent to quarantine hotels for 3, 6, or 10 days and released only after testing negative.

-7 ( +13 / -20 )

Yamagiwa said Japan needs to nurture digital technology, artificial intelligence, sustainability and biotechnology to break out of the decades-old doldrums 

First step should be to get rid of all the old dinosaur managers who are leading companies in a 1930s style.

These old manager folks will never ever change their way of thinking.

All new ways, new ideas and new possibilities to improve technology, become more international and become more interesting on the international market are refused by these old folks.

Doing nothing at work beside sleeping at their desks and walking around the office and looking for someone to talk.

Bring more young and energetic managers with international thinking inside the companies and send these old folks to pension and to their Golf places.

19 ( +32 / -13 )

Gee, glad the vaccines work so well.......

-14 ( +19 / -33 )

Good point, life goes on Covid is a virus you cannot kill a virus. Again, if we could we would have gotten rid of the common cold, the flu, years ago what we do is control it. etc.. We might as well get use to it, life goes on! “We know infectious diseases aren’t going away ever,” Daishiro Yamagiwa said Wednesday at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo. “Co-existing with them while revitalizing the economy toward growth is our job,” he said.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Let's test to waters first before jumping into it. Let's see just what kind of obstacles the west had to face by trying to co-exist with it. We still have a bit of time left so we learn from them. First we have to see if it even works before we go toward that route.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

investing in a Japanese university so it "becomes a Stanford.”

Tax payers funding of a country club for the dunce kids of the super-rich?

12 ( +22 / -10 )

"But he said Japan had what he called “moonshot” goals, including leading the world in avatar technology by 2050 and investing in a Japanese university so it "becomes a Stanford.”

*“Japan will become No. 1 in the world,” **he said."*

Oh, c'mon, got nothing better to say? Who really cares about a "moonshot" (whatever this is) and avatar technology? Definitely not me. The money I have in my pocket to buy food and pay the bills is much more important. Besides, "Japan number 1 in the world"? Guess he spends most of his time in his office or home without recognizing what's going on. Just another one who got it made and doesn't have to worry!

24 ( +28 / -4 )

Good luck with that.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Yamagiwa, a veterinarian

Japan always manages to find the top experts for jobs. Another Nippon Kaigi who seems uniquely qualified to run pandemic and economic responses.

21 ( +28 / -7 )

Well, I guess it doesn’t hurt to dream.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Same old blah, blah, blah. GDP and wages have been flat for years, and the same old buzz words are used just to satisfy blind voters so these politicians can stay in office.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

What happened to the idea of boosting the economy via international tourism?

How can there be any growth when this massive sector of the economy is producing literally nothing?

Inbound tourism still (somehow?) employs tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands and accounts for huge amounts of property, vehicles, and services that generates income for everyone from advertisers to plumbers.

But there is not just zero "growth" in this sector... there is zero revenue.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

If coexisting with the virus means opening up the border, then I am with you 100%!

13 ( +18 / -5 )

fewer than 1% have gotten a booster.

Yep, guarantee it's less than 50% this time, people don't want to be on a constant vaccine conveyor belt.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

Yes number 1 for largest aged population and number 1 for biggest debt.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

As America's Covid count grows, so do China economy, fuel by American

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

step 1 would be to open the country up not closing it. i think we all understand and worry about omicron, but there are ways to live with covid and have visitors, immigration (maybe a dirty word in for some) etc...

5 ( +10 / -5 )

bureaucracy and vested interests....Welcome to Japan.

let's also add corruption and bribery infested rotteness while we are on the subject!

8 ( +14 / -6 )

@divinda: The tourism industry has now passed the point of believing that international tourism is coming back anytime soon and many hotels of all grades and inns are re tooling towards the needs of domestic tourists. Have you tried booking anywhere decent over the next few months? Either full up or sky high prices for the limited availability that's left. Very very different picture to last year when their were bargains to be had. High end /Medium end restaurants are full again also. Far from zero revenue.

@TokyoJoe: I guarantee it will be above 50% of those eligible in Japan, especially once the workplace vaccination programme is rekindled.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Yamagiwa, a veterinarian How the hell does this qualify him for this position ?

Smh.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

@theResident

That's good news if true.

Domestic tourism should be encouraged, international tourism is fickle.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

That’s what I have been doing for two years. Living.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Japan's Minister for Economic Revitalization who is a vet need we say anymore..

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Japan's GDP doesn't need to "grow." Its population is declining and GDP is aggregate output, so standing still is positive. There needs to be a new metric, preferably one that measures living standards, for policymakers to shoot for.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

there is nothing we can do to stop the spread of a virus. Never been done before. All we can do is provide a vaccine AS AN OPTION to lessen the symptoms in hope that it would reduce the need for hospitalization. the vaccine "might" give us the time needed to expand and strengthen our medical facilities and staff as to handle any surge.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Glad that the penny has finally dropped on living with Covid as just another virus to add to the pile.

AI is not a solution and digitisation, which can help, makes systems vulnerable and can exclude chunks of the population.

But Japan may be able to repeat its post-war trick in the near future.

Post WWII, Japan went from being a bombed out shell to a major economy by making things progressively better, notably making semiconductors smaller and less power hungry.

It then lost out in the internet revolution as web-centric tech required the innovation of the young and English language skills for internationalising products and services.

Going forward, lower energy use and sustainable systems will be really important. Japan can do that for almost anything. It is the same progressive improvement that Japan has always been good at. So get on and do it again.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan must co-exist with virus while achieving growth, says minister

Translation: we will not shut anything down because we want people to work and pay taxes and we are too selfish to care about the welfare of the people.

Japan had managed to cut new infections to very low levels last fall,

by not testing across the board like the developed world does.

Japan has responded flexibly against its “invisible enemy," setting up a system of quarantines at home for those sick with the Omicron variant of coronavirus, instead of hospitalization for all,

Gotta LOVE that Japanese spin...

Japan has responded flexibly...

setting up a system of quarantines at home...

All the J-gov did was ask people to quarantine at home because they didn't do squat to prepare. They didn't "set up" ANYTHING. They are not flexible. They don't even know how many people died at home quarantining.

4 ( +17 / -13 )

You can’t learn to “co-exist” with any virus until you learn to stop dying from them. Covid cannot be compared to any other virus as we generally have learned how to contain other viruses. But the “daijobu” attitude that cures all problems in Japan simply won’t work on Covid. It’s time for some serious actions. Stop wasting money and time . Infringe on people’s liberties for a few weeks. Implement a true lockdown. Here in Japan every April-May we all go for our annual work physicals complete with a chest X-ray looking for that elusive case of TB. But Covid ? Daijobu….. time to be proactive instead of reactive.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Japan was way too late in getting the vaccine especially since they were hosting the olympics and the Abe masks were a joke! Most all people I know have suffered and it will be hard for them to recover!

let’s get the ball rolling and open up this economy cause Japan was in debt before all this happened and there isn’t any time left!

do something!

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Japan must co-exist with virus while achieving growth, says minister

oh really? How did this Nostradamus come up with that notion?

The Japanese government LOVES to state the obvious, and pretend that they are revolutionary minds at work.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

What is he talking about?!?!

We should do opposite to save lives!

Does it mean I will have to go out home back to the office?? It is insane !!

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Not just Japan. The whole world needs to coexist with the virus until it mutates itself down to an influenza. This could take a few years. For the mean time, people need to get vaccinated, wear masks and avoid crowds where possible.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Japan has already been living with COVID. The gov just didn't know about it because they would rather spend money on other countries than test its own citizens. Pathetic.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Growth? In a country with no natural resources, a shrinking workforce supporting the 30% of the population that's over 65 and an economy stagnant for 25 years? Where's the growth going to come from? Probably the same magical place as KIshida's new capitalism.

More pie-in-the-sky nonsense from the Abenomics cheap seats. Why does the LDP refuse to address the country's real problems?

13 ( +20 / -7 )

Man in charge of containing coronavirus gives up on containing coronavirus.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

encounter superfluous numbers of workers guiding returnees through the four-hour quarantine maze

Even when getting the vaccine they had way more people than needed. I didn't count, but in the small hospital I went to I'd guess there were at least 20 people standing around. Most of them were just there to say, please sit in this seat, you're now on the second floor please go to the 3rd.

20 people doing jobs that could be done by one sign saying, wait here until the doctor calls you.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

@Monty

”First step should be to get rid of all the old dinosaur managers who are leading companies in a 1930s style. “

it’s not the gov job to do that for you. If you are an investor, vote to enable those changes. Good luck. There are brilliant companies in Japan as well.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Gee, glad the vaccines work so well.......

They do. Glad you are finally recognizing the fact.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

“The gov just didn't know about it because they would rather spend money on other countries than test its own citizens. Pathetic.”

this is so pathetic and petty. The term “with corona” has been around for ages here. They know that well. Why are you so obsessed with testing? I for one wouldn’t test unless necessary. Look at the number of people who unfortunately died here in Japan and in the US. Does testing a lot more help? The end number tells me the Japanese people might have done something right to protect themselves, am I wrong?

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

But they already are coexisting nicely with the virus. Japan has done an exemplary job in achieving extremely low infection rates and deaths compared to the US and Europe, all without lockdowns.

Meanwhile, unemployment is at just 2.9%, with the domestic tourism sector and local manufacturing rebounding nicely! So there is no need to reopen the border any time soon. Give it 10 years or so.

/s

0 ( +6 / -6 )

@Chikabun wrote "Japan is number 1 for the biggest debt" 45% of which is to itself. Bank of Japan is Japan. Also, Japan is the biggest creditor nation in the world

In fact, Japan remained the biggest creditor nation for the 27th straight year, according to the Ministry of Finance as of 2019.

The net value of assets held by the government, businesses, and individuals stood at 328 trillion yen ($3 trillion) at the end of 2018.

Japan’s net external assets were about 1.3 times higher than those held by Germany, the world’s №2 creditor nation with 261 trillion yen in net assets at the end of 2018.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

“Japan will become No. 1 in the world,” he said.

Wake him up from his dream.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

HBJ re vaccines work well "They do" Well, they work in terms of reducing severe symptoms...for about 3 months (so "well" has an expiration date). Also, they don't prevent transmission, so again, "well" does not equate to "comprehensive". Yes, they work at reducing severe symptoms for a short while, which is good...not great. "Well" is, well...subjective I suppose

0 ( +2 / -2 )

But they already are coexisting nicely

Tell that to the employees at businesses that have gone bankrupt, November had record pandemic related bankruptcies for the 3rd month in a row. That is even with the subsidies the gov't is paying out. If the subsidies stop and things don't change in terms of restrictions at the border, I would be very concerned.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

jaybeeb

sarcasm flag was on. You're preaching to the choir bro.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Too right they must coexist and can easily do so with the omicron variant basically changing this from pandemic to endemic! The world is waking up and hints of change are in the wings. We will never achieve zero deaths or zero hospitalizations as we don't from influenza and the multitude of other terminal illnesses!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Critics have long said Japan needs to break out of entrenched bureaucracy and vested interests to reinvent itself and become more dynamic and competitive.

Yamagiwa said Japan needs to nurture digital technology, artificial intelligence, sustainability and biotechnology to break out of the decades-old doldrums that have worsened with the pandemic.

There are so many dinosaurs in Kasumgaseki that nothing will change until younger, more dynamic fresh politicians come in.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In other words, they're going to just try to pray it away again and wait. Then when hospitals are bursting in a couple of weeks they'll act surprised at the speed and breadth of the outbreak, and say it could not have been predicted. Then they'll start talking about the next GoTo travel campaign.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

smithinjapanToday  09:40 am JST

In other words, they're going to just try to pray it away again and wait. Then when hospitals are bursting in a couple of weeks they'll act surprised at the speed and breadth of the outbreak, and say it could not have been predicted. Then they'll start talking about the next GoTo travel campaign.

Umm not likely! With Okinawan omicron cases showing 90% mild to zero symptoms the hospitals will not be over loaded this time round!

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Japan will become No. 1 in the world,” he said.

Maybe in an anime or avatar world.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

@Paul

Tax payers funding of a country club for the dunce kids of the super-rich?

That already exists. It's called the LDP.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Japan must co-exist with virus while achieving growth, says minister

Finally a voice of reason. The CCP model of "zero covid", copied in Australia, NZ and Quebec, is failing everywhere.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

smithinjapan

In other words, they're going to just try to pray it away again and wait. Then when hospitals are bursting in a couple of weeks they'll act surprised at the speed and breadth of the outbreak,

This is not going to happen, as we can see in countries that are ahead in the Omicron curve. Want to take a bet that your apocalyptic prediction turns out wrong?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

“Japan will become No. 1 in the world,” he said.

No. 1 in what? Lagging behind in incorporating technology into everyday matters? No. 1 in being the worst when it comes to gender equality among developed countries? No. 1 forcing employees to work horrendous amounts of OT?

The man's delusional. Japan's economy has been stagnant for years and their reluctance to pull their business practices from the dredges of the 1980s is only exacerbating this. Then there's their rapidly aging population - they're not going to have enough workforce to keep the economy going in the future but instead of trying to lure in and utilize foreign talent to help bring things into the 21st century, they allow their culturally ingrained xenophobia get in the way of making good decisions.

Yeah, no. Japan will not be No. 1 in the world. Not if it keeps functioning the way it does.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

@Steve

“Japan was way too late in getting the vaccine especially since they were hosting the olympics and the Abe masks were a joke! “

Despite all these, as you said, the pandemic related numbers told a different story. So r maybe you have been reading the statistics upside down.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

I disagree with his mantra of economics. Yes economic is most important but you can not place economics in front of the citizenry interests. Double the minimum wage and that money will not end up in overseas shongy bank account. It will be pour back into the local economy this money wouldn’t be hauled away. It will be reinvested in Japan economy and if any saving occurs which would be a low % . It will be in Japanese banks at least. I do agree with everything else he stated.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan will never be number 1 and it doesn't have to be. To become number 1 means to become the leader, setting examples to the rest of the world. The average Japanese citizen is better at following orders instead of leading them. They also have great ideas but are being repressed due to the inability to express own opinion.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

"Japan will become No. 1 in the world,” he said.

Excellent! Always finish with a joke.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

inability to make any decision in a timely manner and without first getting full consensus of everyone involved causes a lot of problems for Japan.

Much better at executing a plan than planning or creating.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

For those who are cynical or critical to "living with corona," could you please show me any alternative model of way-out? Or do you really support "zero corona" practiced by Chine under the commonest rule ? Out there only a few cases will lead to full shutdown of the entire community affecting millions of residents who are also forced to mass-testing and their privacy being tagged and monitored to GPS systems. Despite that, Omicron now seems to outwit Beijing complacency. Overall I'm afraid more of a Orwellian society than of covid.

Coexisting with corona is not merely about money or growth. The latest semi SOE/extension has already met the tidal wave of cancellation/delay of sociocultural and relational events across the country, some of which were supposed to be once and irreversible. Hope is dashed, and so many invaluable things have been sacrificed for human life. This is particularly true and truly silly for Japan with very low corona casualties.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

talk is cheap,especially japanese politicians one....

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Domestic tourism should be encouraged, international tourism is fickle.

Japan has a rapidly aging population. The Boomers are starting to hit mid 70s now and will stop being genki enough to go on holiday. They vastly outnumber new adults, many of whom are joining the workforce in non-seishain jobs with poor pay. I expect the pie for domestic tourism to shrink. You mightn't think it from A-list places like Hakone, Kamakura, Karuizawa etc. but there are lots of run-down tourism destinations all over Japan. They won't be making a comeback.

Regarding international tourism, Japan is popular, both for fathomable/justifiable reasons and reasons that are infathomable, absurd, or people just seeing what they want to see. The number of inbound tourists was in a stronger uptrend than house prices in the UK or Australia. I don't think anyone would call house prices "fickle".

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@kohakuebisu

No, japanese should strive to be more independent and rely less on foreign money.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Zaphod: Australia don’t not copy The CCP model. Australia had a strategy of temporary restriction on normality Not a total lockdown until zero case. Once A vaccines became available the strategy of fully vaccinated % reached 80% temporary restriction of normality will be lifted slowly until 90% which life back to normal. Again because new variants strategy of temporary restriction on normality are being imposed. That nothing like the CCP or any other models it Australian model and Japan has their model. I hope with this info you might feel more informed.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

FACT..... Open the border. Omicron is already here and spreading. Move on with life.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Two years passed. Still J Gov is preparing for the pandemic. When they move forward? They are dragging this until next election. They are just making excuses for save their parliament spot. Speaking about human rights. They are considering only Japanese point of view. No one here to talk about human rights of foreigners.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Japan has responded flexibly against its “invisible enemy," setting up a system of quarantines at home for those sick with the Omicron variant of coronavirus, instead of hospitalization for all, and speeding up vaccine boosters"

Speeding up boosters ?....This dude,s claim is directly contradicted one line later. General population ( after health staff and elderly ) is set to get boosters from March...if we see the same pattern as elsewhere , by that time Omicron wave will have come and almost gone and very likely majority of population will have gotten their immunity.

Boosters have lagged in Japan, compared to the U.S., South Korea and parts of Europe. Although about 80% of Japanese have received two shots, fewer than 1% have gotten a booster."

*"But he said Japan had what he called “moonshot” goals, including leading the world in avatar technology by 2050 and investing in a Japanese university so it "becomes a Stanford.”“Japan will become No. 1 in the world,” he said."*

Oh, c'mon, got nothing better to say? Who really cares about a "moonshot" (whatever this is) and avatar technology? Definitely not me. The money I have in my pocket to buy food and pay the bills is much more important."

Spot on - besides...dreamy goals in avatar technology and such by 2050 are a pie in the sky concept to create the illusion govt is doing something...they have no clue what the next 10 years will be like...let alone 3 decades from now.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The ultra right wing ultra conservative Japanese government with prominent members of the Nippon Kaigi is now enjoying the fruits of years of brainwashing people with their anti foreign propaganda and now the majority of the media treat the covid as a foreign disease and can’t conceive that Japanese citizens can be also the cause of the spread of the pandemic.

For example,Italy is ranked 4th with Covid cases but on the other hand with a population roughly half of Japan is doing daily tests with the triple as Japan.

Japanese government is good at reading the numbers when they are convenient for them omitting some of the basics.

Last month even the WHO criticized them for their unfair and unjust way to treat foreigners differently than their own citizen saying it wasn’t either logical or scientific.

There are no more words of how disgusting,xenophobic and narrow minded became the whole thing in Japan.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Critics have long said Japan needs to break out of entrenched bureaucracy and vested interests to reinvent itself and become more dynamic and competitive.

Entrenched bureaucracy-Bingo! Yes yes hold that thought and take action please...

Change is slower in this country than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Something most politicians seem to be overlooking. In order for the economy to grow or even maintain the status quo, you need a healthy workforce. We're experiencing this massive oversight now in Australia. Can't even buy groceries since the supply chain workers are sick with COVID. Epic fail by world "leaders" at a global scale.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

won't someone please think of the economy!

s/

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

“We know infectious diseases aren’t going away ever,” Daishiro Yamagiwa said Wednesday at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo. “Co-existing with them while revitalizing the economy toward growth is our job,” he said.

What is he? NUTS!?

COVID is a viral disease! It makes you sick! It could even KILL YOU!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

and speeding up vaccine boosters

Is the government imagining that they are giving out booster shots? Or is it too fast that no one can see it?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@William77

”Italy is ranked 4th with Covid cases but on the other hand with a population roughly half of Japan is doing daily tests with the triple as Japan.

Japanese government is good at reading the numbers when they are convenient for them omitting some of the basics.”

you are right! But we don’t have as many deaths as Italy!

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

“Is the government imagining that they are giving out booster shots? Or is it too fast that no one can see it?”

they have been doing that. Some of my friends already got it. I haven’t got my first though. Stay safe friend, thanks for your concern.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Daily reported cases are totaling several thousand nationwide, roughly tripling from last week.

Yes, cases (AKA PCR positive). So what?

Stay the course and refuse the vaccine which is proven to be ineffective. I can't say anything more. All the evidence is before us one and all.

Yes, they were proven to be ineffective. And now with Omicron, they are completely obsolete.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Where are the peer-reviewed papers???

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

No, that’s just only impossible, and you can easily calculate that with a transition matrix. Growth and that so-called co-existence with the viruses (that alone is already a sheer mess), those two goals together are excluding each other. And you know that, and if not, I tell you it now again, until you understand that one day, hopefully quickly.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

”Italy is ranked 4th with Covid cases but on the other hand with a population roughly half of Japan is doing daily tests with the triple as Japan. Japanese government is good at reading the numbers when they are convenient for them omitting some of the basics.”

Spot on.

you are right! But we don’t have as many deaths as Italy!

Ok then...compare to lets say Australia, it has 10 times fewer deaths, 5 times smaller population but it tests 10 times what Japan does....250 thousand tests daily in Aus ( 7 day rolling average ), by comparison Tokyo with about the same population size has a weekely rolling average of around 10 thousand.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Good speech! Got to live with it

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Critics have long said Japan needs to break out of entrenched bureaucracy and vested interests to reinvent itself and become more dynamic and competitive.

Amen, brother critics.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yes, cases (AKA PCR positive). So what?

Opposite to people that require denying reality to feel better doing what is convenient for them actual scientists and experts use the number of cases to judge how well the spreading of the disease is being controlled, this helps putting forward mitigating measures when they are still very effective instead of waiting until things go out of control to begin.

Yes, they were proven to be ineffective. And now with Omicron, they are completely obsolete

On the opposite they have been proved to be extremely effective, even by sourced you have used as references in your comments, they protect against infection, symptoms, complications and death from omicron which makes them the opposite of obsolete. Repeating false information easily contradicted by the experts can validly be called disinformation.

Umm not likely! With Okinawan omicron cases showing 90% mild to zero symptoms the hospitals will not be over loaded this time round!

Depending on the total number of cases this can still over load the hospitals, specially when previously infected or vaccinated people are still susceptible.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Start by abolishing the garbage that goes on at airports when residents try to renter the country.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Using one agenda to push the other, though lacking inter-relatedness: Yamagiwa said Japan needs to nurture digital technology, artificial intelligence, sustainability and biotechnology to break out of the decades-old doldrums that have worsened with the pandemic. To which he adds, 'we' must learn to live with the pandemic. That's a rather keen proscription for abdicating responsibility for a grave problem of which the central government failed to respond adequately. If not for the proclivities of the citizenry and simply dependent on the central government to act, the disaster would have been tenfold. Now as he pandemic enters its third year, the Fifth Wave (or 6th, who knows) sweeps across japan, a variant introduced from the 'outside' due to a failure to stop is spread at the borders. Omicron is not due to domestic or communal spread, but a gift from the U.S. military and travellers arriving from abroad who were not adequately screened and/or quarantined.

The minsters in the cabinet along with the titular head of the central government seem incapable of envisioning the actual future, let alone preparing for its inevitability. That would include rising seas, resource shortages, deadly pandemics and host of other grave problems. Instead the typical litany of technocratic fantasy - weird references to 'moon shots' and avatar(s). The citizenry is admonished to 'live with the pandemic'. Apparently, the government has proven itself incapable of staving off SARSCoV-2. Great.

The man is a veterinarian, not an economist or techno-wizard, let alone a medical professional whose patient-care consist of people. Certainly, he would be fine with cats & dogs - a constituency he would well represent.

As for living with the pandemic, he is stating the obvious. What is also obvious is the inability of the central government to objectively and scientifically respond to the pandemic. Atop that is the growing emphasis on international aka industrial tourism as an economic generator with no change in that policy, which is a main cause of the spread of SARSCoV-2 and creates a dependency on an 'outside' resource for the domestic economy. Let alone adverse impacts on local and regional economies. Well illustrated by the past two years. It creates a cash flow with an obvious 'choke point' - the most prevalent being a dependency on well-heeled Chinese, who presto, disappeared like smoke with the pandemic, introduced into Japan by their own - there is even an established date: January 16, 2020. South Korea has vivid experience with such: when Korea instituted policies China disagreed with Chinese tourists were banned from visiting Korea - which constituted 50% or more of revenues. Sound economic policy.

Yamigawa, another ambitious LDP loyalist, well within the fold for decades, fully embracing the 21st version of a failed party. With a Jetsons fantasy of life in the future - declaring Japan will be number one, typical empty rhetoric or simply delusional. Japan has the potential to create a viable future, but not if it follows the 2.0 version of the LDP's upgrade of a failed version of Abenomics. Yamigawa, the veterinarian promises simply more of the same with a shiny veneer. As for SARSCoV-2, he is apparently clueless as are those in his cohort.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@gintonic

thanks for pointing that out. Yes you are right. Absolute death count is like that. Death per millions Aus is not far. I am not sure if the number would be the same if Aus has the pop density and commuting modes like what we see here in Tokyo or Osaka, for example. And yet all this in Aus was a result of harsh lockdowns for months on ends. This would go on forever. What I want to say is what works there might not work here. We (delete yourself out of someone don’t want to be included) are fine with current measures in JP.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

It depends on what field u are in. Please do not generalized. Talk is easy.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

“Japan will become No. 1 in the world,” he said.

Oh dear

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Let's give it up for the flu, who has taken another year off. Diseases taking a vacation? Think about that

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I wonder what the holdup is for the booster shots? Not enough supply? They were in full swing. Logistics all in place to get shots in arms - and then they stopped. The missus and myself are scheduled in March. 8 months later….

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The government is waffling on boosters because they understand the data shows that adding more spike proteins to the equation isn't helpful. I bet you a nickel other countries will be too busy cleaning up the mess created by boosting in the middle of a wave of infections to figure out why Japan was able to get Omicron under control without boosters.

Delaying until spring is the same strategy as 2021. It's preferable to wait past the traditional flu season to introduce something which temporarily compromises the immune system and creates a situation where the quantity of spike protein shedding cannot be determined.

Japanese people are supposed to have a reputation for having high standards for product quality, so hopefully there will be much less demand for boosters.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Yes, cases (AKA PCR positive). So what?

Opposite to people that require denying reality to feel better doing what is convenient for them actual scientists and experts use the number of cases to judge how well the spreading of the disease is being controlled,

That was my point, they are following the spread of the virus, not of the disease. With Omicron, many people are perfectly fine, and only find out they are "infected" because they had to get a PCR test for other reasons (e.g. travel).

So several thousand cases nationwide does not represent the number of sick people. Realizing this distinction has nothing to do with denying reality, quite the opposite actually.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That was my point, they are following the spread of the virus, not of the disease

No, your point was that there was no mening in following the spread of the virus, which is obviously false, the virus (including omicron) comes with risks and requires following in order to react with time for possible problems in public health, just blindly assuming everything must be right because you want to consider COVID something innocuous is not productive nor something that health care authorities can responsibly do. This is exactly denying reality, by pretending there is no chance the spreading can produce any problem just because you want to believe it so.

Several thousands cases nationwide means the virus is spreading quickly, so it is reasonable to expect any possible problem to become serious just as quickly.

The government is waffling on boosters because they understand the data shows that adding more spike proteins to the equation isn't helpful

That would not be the reason, even the health care authorities in South Africa are recommending vaccines and booster because they have demonstrated that the increase in immunity also works against Omicron and prevents complications and death. No mess is caused by boosting, the only mess is the lack of vaccinations, which has multiple reasons.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

No reason to get the boosters at all in Japan. By the time you can get the boosters (likely after September of this year or next year) you will have close to 100% chance of having had omicron anyways and it would be a waste of time. It would be a miracle for anyone not to be infected by Omicron by April.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Finally, someone showing evidence of being born with a brain cell.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

LOL, flexibility during this pandemic? Really, he wants us to think this way? How about the government does the same when it comes to travel for the long term residents that live here and not locking us up for 2 weeks upon returning cut the time in half.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I haven't posted here for a year. Used to live here for 12 and then 5 years. I left Japan due to covid impacting my job but also due to the constant anti-foreign sentiment put out by the J government. I remember NHK running film of foreign airline arrivals at Narita to go alongside their covid fear stories. It was disgraceful. Locals stopped talking with me (nothing new there..) no thanks to the fear message put out by the government.

Returned home to the UK who are in a better position largely by accident but also by design. Surprisingly the UK government got its act together with their vaccination programme but also because they were in the last chance saloon and were forced to act.

What has helped is that a large percentage of the UK population have caught covid and therefore a large number of the population carry antibodies. I know many people disagree with the herd immunity theory but there are aspects of it which are beneficial.

I even caught covid myself. But there was proof that my double vaccination reduced the impact and made it a mild reaction. To this point Japan (and Taiwan) have over reacted and are using the pandemic as an excuse to push their xenophobic anti-foreigner rhetoric.

If Japan got up to speed with full vaccinations and booster jabs and allowed this virus to get around, they would generate the antibodies around the population and it is these antibodies which will save humans against this pandemic. Much the same as the first influenza pandemic.

But instead Japan finds its excuse to keep the drawbridge pulled up.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Glad that some people finally started to understand. Late better than never, i guess.

Finally, finally, someone speaking some real common sense! Refreshing!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is a death sentence for the aged & unwell population.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I am completely dumbstruck by the lack of foresight in this country, Their is no planning at any level of politics and management, it is like a ship losely anchored at sea, it moves, as it drifts, but it is without navigation or a destination. The Captain is a blind old man who cannot see through the morning haze. Japan has done its best, supported by its racist and anti non Japanese policies to alienate the world, like a selfish spoilt child it wants to have the freedom of travel but refuses to accept a recipricol agreement. Non Japanese will be making plans for holidays, if not already made, so 2022 will be another year without international tourism regardless of the border situation. As for living with the virus, it would seem that when you closed the border, you also refused to accept the science, with every country shortening the isolation to 5 days, Japan now insists on 10, realistically, who is going to take a holiday and have 10 days in a rooom, your heads are at the top of Fuji. Kishida is complaining he cant make an impact on the international stage, perhaps he should realise that he has isolated himself. As you have no real political opposition, these bucknuts will continue to run the country down, allowing selfish people who refuse the vaccination to hold the country to ransom, open the border and see the queues for the booster then.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In the 1970s and the early '80s Japan's economy was very vigorous and momentum and seemed even to take over the U.S. Washington's policymakers must have had a great sense of danger about it and so embarked on dealing with the problem. 

Gavan McCormack's "Client State: Japan in the American Embrace" details how the U.S. government tried to achieve that policy line.

Isn't Japan's current economic doldrum the end result of that U.S. policy toward Japan as a possible number one?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The last paragraph in my post above is changed as follows:

Isn't Japan's current economic doldrum the end result of that U.S. policy to thwart Japan becoming a possible number one economy (cf. Ezra Vogel's "Japan As Number One")?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

China is said to have minutely examined the Japan-U.S. economic relations at the time to learn a lesson from it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Today's confrontation between the U.S. and China may be partially related to the result of China's close examination of Japan-U.S. economic relations in the 1970s and '80s, where China is too recalcitrant to follow what the U.S. dictates unlike Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This minister is not fit for the financial or economic or management professional as he has no real experience or experise in these areas.

But he seems to pose as a powerful guy and to be bullish.

But just a minute, he should review the vaccine policy his government has been adoptting.

it is obvious that the government delayed the annoucemnet for the targer of priority for vaccination despite enough stockpile of vaccination in Japan.

it is too late for the elderly people aged 65 or older who are supposed to drastically reduce their antibody againt covid-19 including delta variant.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Making this statement, he's only about a year behind every other COVID minister around the world. Well done!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But the philosophy is still grounded in growth fetishization and trickle-down dreams.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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