national

Japan not planning to shut schools despite surge in virus cases

42 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
Login to comment

2000 cases is not that many among a nation of 130m.

Japan shut its schools quite unecessarily back in the spring even in prefectures that didn't have a single case of COVID-19. Very hard to do it again.

-4 ( +16 / -20 )

Well, in our neighborhood one school came up with quite a few cases.

Nothing to worry about, right?? Just a "cluster".

Time will tell! As for me, I expect more to happen in the days to come!

10 ( +15 / -5 )

No reason to shut schools and countries far worse than the couple thousand a day here,are remaining open.And "quite a few" meaning a very small number,is no reason to get paranoid,unless that's your disposition by nature.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

If they don't want to shut down the schools there are other ways to mitigate the spread. For example schools within municipalities can coordinate so that some school's students arrive at school a little later while another school's students leave a little earlier. Limiting club activities to 2-3 days a week; Shortening school hours plus more online classes for JHS, HS, and above might be the way to go. Even without the virus, both teachers and students have too much of a hectic schedule. This could be a new normal and why not?

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Omen. They said the same thing about go to. Why do I feel like the media is in charge of the government; who actually asked to close the schools? No parents want this!

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

In my son's school, 1 kid was tested positiv around 5 or 6 weeks ago.

The school was shut down for 5 days and all school activities were canceled.

After 5 days things went back to normal, and so far everything seems OK.

But, these 5 days shut down was a very big challenge for mine and other families.

My wife couldn't go to work for 5 days, and because this shut down came up so sudden, her company was not really happy about the absent of my wife.

Other parents had exactly the same problem.

So shut down schools completely is a very tough thing to to do and a big challenge for families.

I agree with Aly Rustom here, to adjust school times, club activities and so on...would be a good idea.

Like in my company, Lunch time is adjusted, so that each division has a different lunch time and the cantine is not overcrowded.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Keep the schools open. The negative effects of closing them - on the family, employment, education, exercise, mental health, etc. disruptions are far greater than the health risk of continuing on-site learning and activities. As awful as the Japanese education system is, it's still better than closing the schools for this.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Keep the schools open. The negative effects of closing them - on the family, employment, education, exercise, mental health, etc. disruptions are far greater than the health risk of continuing on-site learning and activities.

In order to say this it is indispensable that you can quantify both things. If you don't have objective data to prove it it is just your opinion and not a fact. Unqualified opinions based on non existing data are not a valid argument to oppose a measure.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

virusrexToday  10:09 am JST

Keep the schools open. The negative effects of closing them - on the family, employment, education, exercise, mental health, etc. disruptions are far greater than the health risk of continuing on-site learning and activities.

In order to say this it is indispensable that you can quantify both things. If you don't have objective data to prove it it is just your opinion and not a fact. Unqualified opinions based on non existing data are not a valid argument to oppose a measure.

Since you're the one advocating for restrictions and mass vaccination, the burden of proof is on you to show how dangerous this virus is. Same as in court, if the state wants to lock someone up, they have to present evidence beyond reasonable doubt that someone should be incarcerated. So cough it up. And remember there are thousands of credible medical scientists who disagree with your view, so it better be good.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

There is no objective data to support closing the schools...

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Since you're the one advocating for restrictions and mass vaccination, the burden of proof is on you to show how dangerous this virus is. 

It is not me, that is only your favorite strawman, what part of the scientific evidence from every single medical association of the world do you disagree from? what part of the models is not true? how can you prove that the huge amount of deaths and hospitalizations are not real?

Bring the thousands of credible medical scientists that say no social distancing measures should be in place, but most importantly bring the data they use to support that opinion, because just opposing something without any data to prove it is exactly the opposite of what a credible professional has to do, it is more what people with interests different from public health would do, for example those employed precisely to promote opinions where public health is sacrificed for economic profit.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

There is no objective data to support closing the schools

False, there is no data that support complete and unrestricted closing of the schools, nor data that proves irremediable negative effects on the children education because of temporary closures or shortening of the hours (between the many different things that can be done). Given that it is still invalid to say one of those things is "far greater" than the other. You still need quantification to say it.

In comparison with other activities schools still appear to be lower in the scale of risk, but that does not mean they can just be forgotten and left as if no spreading could be originated from them. It does mean other kind of places more risky should be shut down first, but even if not closed care have to be taken (frequent testing of the staff and any symptomatic child for example) to avoid converting the children into vectors of spreading. After all asymptomatic children are perfectly capable of transmitting the infection into the household.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

No, virusex, the burden of proof is on you. If you think these measures are necessary, you have to demonstrate it beyond reasonable doubt and not hide behind professional organisations. Can you be sure that all their members unanimously support lockdowns, mass vaccination, distancing and masks? If you can, show me the proof.

Otherwise, you have no justification for closing down schools.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Virus, you obviously don't have kids and don't have any responsibilities, otherwise you would know how hard it is. We don't need data when we are directly experiencing in our own lives.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

Yes, it’s all too easy for people with no kids or responsibilities to say close the schools, shutdown the businesses.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Yes, it’s all too easy for people with no kids or responsibilities to say close the schools, shutdown the businesses.

Incorrect. My wife and I both work full time at professional jobs and have a 6 yo boy in kindergarten. We very much prefer him to be in distance learning right now than in person school. Why? We know from experience that if one kid in his class comes down with something, soon every one in his class and their families have it. Recently we were polled on whether or not we wanted to return our son to in person learning. We did not. No worries as pretty much all of the parents polled responded negatively. So in person school remains closed here and we work through the distance learning. It hard, yes, but better than a trip to the ICU. Much better thank you.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

There no comparison about closing schools in America and here in Japan. New York just shut down schools but not schooling. Online learning.

In Japan the local education authorities decide if to close a school. The last time they did I went down to the beach and many of those school children were there playing. I see no reason to close the schools at this time.

Yesterday I watched groups of elementary school kids walking home together. About 6 -8 years. Happy, chatting.

Incorrect. My wife and I both work full time at professional jobs and have a 6 yo boy in kindergarten. We very much prefer him to be in distance learning right now than in person school.

Don't think any kindergarten 6 year old needs any distance learning. Young children need contact with other young children to develop their personalities and social behavior.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Ah-so

2000 cases is not that many among a nation of 130m.

You forgot to also write,

20,000 tests is not that many among a nation of 130m.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

I guess Japan is banking on the Chinese vaccine with its new deal with China.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Anyone here thinking of daily health or even life threatening conditions for teachers or other staff at schools? No? Expected exactly that.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

It's not what they decide, but how they execute things that angers myself, and I'm guessing many other people.

Like others have said above me, there are ways to do things without completely shutting down. There are adaptations of rules that can be changed. There are alternatives to certain things.

Simple things can easily be eliminated. Non essential school activities like "clubs" or excess classes that no one benefits from. No one comes in before 7AM. Students leaving by 3P and Teachers actually going home by 6PM and not staying after. Eliminate all unnecessary study times on weekends and nights. Students can do that in their own rooms.

Different days off, lunch periods, etc etc. Let each school decide their own ways as well.

Come on Japan, time to step it up and cut the crap. This is no longer the same old same old. This is corona times, try doing things differently already!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I'm sure for the past six months since the end of the state of emergency, Japan's Minister of Education has been pushing for all the nation's boards of education to train and prepare teachers to teach online and to potentially provide those without funding for laptops/notebooks in case it gets to that point. Right? ........ Anybody? ....Buhler?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Well seeing as not one person under 25 has died or been admitted to the icu closing schools would make no sense from the perspective of children's safety.

Closing schools may limit the spread to family members but I am sure most parents

would take a few days of a fever so their kids could go to school.

The elderly are the ones at risk so asking grandparents not to see their grandkids would make much more sense.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The problem with online learning, not all the kids are equal and have access to computers and good internet connections. Even in Japan.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

No, virusex, the burden of proof is on you. If you think these measures are necessary, you have to demonstrate it beyond reasonable doubt and not hide behind professional organisations.

No it is not, because I was not the one that said one was more important than the other, that was you. My comment is that this is wrong and mistaken without proper quantification. That is my point.

You want to contradict the international organizations that recommend this measures? bring your proof, else is just your unqualified opinion without basis.

Virus, you obviously don't have kids and don't have any responsibilities, otherwise you would know how hard it is. We don't need data when we are directly experiencing in our own lives.

ad hominems are irrelevant. It would be the same as saying you have no vulnerable people close to you, something that would be sad but equally irrelevant. Pretending that your opinion is fact is wrong, no matter what your opinion is.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

He said the education ministry will soon revise guidelines to ensure schools institute preventive measures including adequate ventilation in the winter, as experts have attributed the recent flare-ups to the cold weather that has led people to spend more time indoors in structures without sufficient airflow.

You mean like having the heater on in winter, but all the windows open at your workplace/school classroom? Washing your hands? Yeah, genius idea there! What's next? Having classes outside in the cold to combat the virus?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"At this point, we are not considering a request (for all schools to shut down)," Koichi Hagiuda, minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, told a press conference.

That's for now, at least. I hope the government doesn't wait until the 11th hour until they decide to suspend school or transition kids to online classes. I really believe that classes and schools can still continue their core functions through online, though it's not as effective as physical classes, it's still better than nothing.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Previously I decided to bow out of this comment section as I came to regard it as a futile endeavour. However, as I continue my effort to stay informed regard covid-19 internationally, I have discovered several useful resources which I want to share. I hope these will provide data which commentators may reference when expressing their views so as provide more salient and well supported arguments:

CDC: this page lists all covid-19 deaths by age and gender, as well as by comorbidity including influenza, in the US:

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm

TK: this page sources data from across Japan to provide in depth data as to the situation here, including breakdowns by age and prefecture:

https://toyokeizai.net/sp/visual/tko/covid19/en.html

Stop Covid: this site provides hospitalization data for all Japan based on prefectural reporting:

https://www.stopcovid19.jp/

Tokyo: this site contains data on the Tokyo Metro area situation:

https://stopcovid19.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/en/

Estat: This is the official portal for the government statistics in Japan. It is useful for data relating to previous years and non-covid causes of death, although as data is tabulated annually, there is limited data for 2020:

https://www.e-stat.go.jp/en

WHO: factsheets provided by the WHO across all monitored health issues. This is useful when reference other diseases mortality rates in previous years etc.

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets

8 ( +8 / -0 )

You want to contradict the international organizations that recommend this measures? bring your proof, else is just your unqualified opinion without basis.

Well for a start how about Dr David Navarro from the WHO, who recently commented that the lockdowns were the wrong strategy and more harmful than helpful? Or doesn't he count?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

virusrex Today  02:56 pm JST

*No, virusex, the burden of proof is on you. If you think these measures are necessary, you have to demonstrate it beyond reasonable doubt and not hide behind professional organisations.*

No it is not, because I was not the one that said one was more important than the other, that was you. My comment is that this is wrong and mistaken without proper quantification. That is my point.

You want to contradict the international organizations that recommend this measures? bring your proof, else is just your unqualified opinion without basis.

You don't get it. All you're doing is to saying "listen to the experts." You're not providing the evidence for lockdowns and the like. To justify extreme measures, you need really strong evidence. And there is not only no solid evidence that these extreme measures aren't justified, but there is no consensus among medical professionals regardless of what their senior bureaucrats might say. And again, since so many of these important people flout the rules, why should we comply?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The UK is in various types of lockdowns but the schools remain open.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

About 150-200 high school boys on my flight back to Osaka from Okinawa last night. All climbing over each other on the flight, sitting on each others laps pulling their masks down below their chins to call out, speak loudly with their classmates. Covid19 is not a worry for them or their teachers.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

About 150-200 high school boys on my flight back to Osaka from Okinawa last night. All climbing over each other on the flight, sitting on each others laps pulling their masks down below their chins to call out, speak loudly with their classmates. Covid19 is not a worry for them or their teachers.

sheesh. These HS boys sound like kindergarteners back home!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Schools must stay open for many reasons. Social, educational, emotional, and not to mention 1 in 6 children don’t get fed properly at home.

All schools should have daily temperature checks on entry and biweekly virus testing.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The minister urged schools to exercise "maximum vigilance" 

Another statement of absolute nothingness. What does this mean? How can schools be vigilant over something that cannot be seen and which can be carried asymptomatically?

What should schools do when little Taro, Hanae, or Sensei comes to school with the virus but showing no symptoms?

Should schools be checking if Taro’s father is going to Izakayas for meetings after work?

How about Hanae’s mother who is a GP and in contact with sick people everyday?

So again, what does the Gov expect school ‘maximum vigilance’ to actually be?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Be reasonable. In the current wave, the main transmission is taking place at home. School kids are thus more exposed to the infection risk if having to stay home due to school closure.

In late February, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked all elementary, junior high and high schools to close temporarily due to a surge in coronavirus cases, an abrupt move that sparked confusion among pupils, parents and educational institutions.

This measure has been reviewed and published, suggesting that it didn't help decreasing the spread.

Was school closure effective in mitigating coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Time series analysis

https://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(20)30598-1/pdf

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Where else would they get free babysitting while mom's out using her Go To Eat coupons at the Ritz Carleton and dad is being forced to commute in on the packed trains?

Nah, they closed when the numbers were half what they are now, so why close when it's a whole lot deadlier?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Keep schools open, but suspend club activities. Close the bars. Come on J-gov't, bite the bullet and support those business owners and workers for the next few months until we get a vaccine.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Well for a start how about Dr David Navarro from the WHO, who recently commented that the lockdowns were the wrong strategy and more harmful than helpful? Or doesn't he count?

So out of thousands of professionas that supposedly reject all the economic measures you end up with one, that simply disagrees with the ease of use of the most cost intensive one? that is nonsense.

Its like saying that doctors say that antibiotics are useless and to "prove" it you bring a doctor that say that giving antibiotics for a common cold is not justified.

You don't get it. All you're doing is to saying "listen to the experts." You're not providing the evidence for lockdowns and the like.

You are the one that don't get it. Of course I say to listen to the experts, those are the ones with the data and the science in their side. My point is that you should do it unless you have more and better data that contradict them, since you don't have it, then the only reasonable thing to do is to keep listening to them. Specially when your own arguments get more and more diluted. Then again you need to be honest, at least with yourself to be able to do it.

but there is no consensus among medical professionals regardless of what their senior bureaucrats might say.

Of course there is, even if you hate it. In general all medical associations in the whole world recommend to do sacrifices in order to keep the pandemic controlled as much as possible. Disagreement in details (like the time or the scope of each measure) do not mean there is no consensus, it just mean situations can be different around the world and the measures have to be adapted to each location, all completely inside of the science.

Do you have zombie-like obedient population that culturally is used to keeping a long social distance and testing is done everywhere frequently? then it is scientifically justified to close only some kinds of economic activities of high risk. On the other hand a lot of the population take pride in not doing anything that is not in self benefit, like to believe religiously in fantasies about global conspiracies that include all scientists, doctors, teachers, media, etc. etc? then it may be justified to force them to keep their distance because of their deeply irrational behavior.

Be reasonable. In the current wave, the main transmission is taking place at home. School kids are thus more exposed to the infection risk if having to stay home due to school closure.

That is may not be true, first because testing is terribly bad in Japan, so it may be that the main transmission identified is at home (but unindentified routes, including contacts from school are more important). The other is because contagions coming from the children (something already studied and corroborated to be as likely as from adults) would still be considered taking place at home.

Still, at this point schools are not particularly risky (as long as no sports are done, mask are mandatory, etc.) so they are not a priority to close and other kinds of centers of activity have to be stopped first.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Japan not planning to shut schools despite surge in virus cases

I am glad that some common sense remains in the Japanese government... unlike the media that continue to peddle this pandemic hype.

Closing the schools again clearly does more harm than good. And the media should stop bleating about "cases" which means nothing.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Ah_so - 2000 cases is not that many among a nation of 130m.

Perhaps when you or a family member are in hospital on a respirator fighting for every breath you might consider 2,000 cases to be too many.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Perhaps when you or a family member are in hospital on a respirator fighting for every breath you might consider 2,000 cases to be too many.

It's not 2000 people on ventilators or respirators, it's just 2000 PCR positives, a fraction of which have symptoms, a fraction of which are hospitalized, ...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites