Parents, teachers scramble to cope after Abe urges school shutdown

By Chang-Ran Kim and Ju-min Park

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What the..?

Urges shutdown? I thought it was an order? What on earth is wrong with the leadership in this country?

8 ( +13 / -5 )

The prime minister also caught flak in parliament and social media after revelations that an aide had held a buffet-style fund-raising party with about 200 attendees on Feb 26 - the same day Abe asked for sports and cultural events to be scaled down.

Dumb aide.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Abe just can't catch a break. In my opinion he is doing a decent job. I hope he succeeds to contain the virus and the Olympics proceed even if scaled back.

-14 ( +7 / -21 )

 a fifth of its nurses were unable to work while their children were out of school.

Partners of health workers should be ordered home to take care of the kids. Nurses were not forced to stay home if their spouses were responsible.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

As a parent, with three kids, this shocked me. Guess we are gonna let YouTube take care of them for the next month, while we are at work.

Also, I wonder what will happen if the number of cases are on the rise come the start of the school year. Shut down til Golden Week? Admit this was an overreaction (yeah, right!) and encourage kids to go back to school?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

"We'll just have to get our revenge at the next elections,"@Ayu49Sweetfish

Make your word count.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

It's hard to make everyone happy with any decision you make as a politician, especially Abe recently. If he were to do nothing folks will say he should have closed the schools. Now he closes the schools and people complain. I have 2 kids affected. Luckily our schedules are flexible. I feel for those affected negatively. Schools are definitely incubators though.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Suddenly, he sees the political consequences of being seen as missing in action," Kingston said, noting his support had fallen to around 36% in a weekend poll.

This number is going to look pretty damn good to Abe in about one week! Watch it fall into the low to mid 20's and lower if this does nothing to stem the increase of infections being reported.

A vote of no confidence would force an election if it passed so in reality, like it or not, we are stuck with Abe for at least the next couple of months!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Partners of health workers should be ordered home to take care of the kids. Nurses were not forced to stay home if their spouses were responsible.

What if the spouses are also working in health services (as frequently happens)?

As long as parents have to stop going to work to take care of the children some services will be interrupted, specially in those jobs where telecommuting is simply not an option.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Urges shutdown? I thought it was an order? What on earth is wrong with the leadership in this country?

Agree! In this pandemic situation it should be an executive order from the top without any dissent, with all violators arrested and jailed. This is what would happen in a more normal country!

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

As to closing the schools for a month on almost zero notice:

The Japanese government is oblivious to or never heard of the Law of Unintended Consequences (such as where do the children go, who takes care of them, what about parents that work, etc.; and/or

None of the decisionmakers have children in school and both parents work OR they own a lot of stock in babysitting companies.

A test one week closure would make sense and a frequent daily practice in the schools of everyone cleaning their hands and wearing masks would be much more effective.

This is what happens when government bureaucrats take over to show they are "saving" the people... See also, China, Iran....

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Abesan is really wonderful.

Don't lose to Keirendan.And west media

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

In a parallel universe there is an Abe who didn't shut the schools, and the schools end up as major transmission hubs, leading to the deaths of thousands of grandparents. 

In this universe there is an internet forum in which people are writing, "Abe should have closed the schools for a month when he had the chance - this was utterly predictable."

2 ( +7 / -5 )

It's a weird decision as data shows kids are less likely to get sick, nearly no chance of getting the serious form, less chances to spread than adults... That would have maybe be wiser to first close all elderly gathering places . Then ask elderly workers and those conditions to stay home, get food delivery and take a indoor hobby as they risk the most.

Partners of health workers should be ordered home to take care of the kids.

It's likely many are in couple with other health workers. But clearly, these families should receive all the extra support. There should not be any hospital closure, even if that means the local governors, mayors, PMs, Mr and Mrs Abe move their bottoms and do the babysitting themselves if they are unable to find another solution.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Governor of Hokkaido has declared a State of Emergency and requested all people stay at home this weekend.

Really? They are trying to shut down the whole state of Hokkaido? I believe something should be done there but these are really overkills.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'm often complaining about how kids here don't get enough time off. Well, here we are. My dreams have come true. My kids will have a month off for spring! I say this in earnest and without sarcasm.

This will be the first time since they were in nursery school to have an actual vacation where they'll have a lot of free time to play - like all kids should. Sure they'll be given spring "vacation" homework but they'll just copy the answer keys.

Parents with small children are the ones who will have it the hardest. I hope the best for them somehow with companies being understanding and flexible due to this.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The guideline is not compulsory, should be understood and handled with free interpretations by local school authorities in line with local situations and available resources. For instance I can agree on full shutdown in some badly affected areas like in Hokkaido where a rapidly rising number of infections have been reported.

In Japan, most human-to-human transmission cases have happened at home or work, not at school. No single Japanese kids or young have been dead or under grave condition. The latest Japanese dead are all 70s or over. School shutdown is off the mark in this regard. Risks do exist elsewhere, such as deadly crowded transportation systems downtown.

Although I never deny such political gesture addressing state's commitment and seeking nationwide solidarity, things must be reasonable. Too late though, full yet week-long temporary ban against those having traveled around most affected areas, namely China and South Korea, can still widely gain public support and be "politically correct."

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yes, closing the schools is a strange choice to make - but it allows Abe to look powerful and in charge, and nobody can complain about "for the sake of the children." Kids do not get the coronavirus as much. Meanwhile, teachers will still have to go to school....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Best decision ever, people will never understand the decisions that Abe did, but Abe has professional, scientist s, experts etc that surrounds him. He is doing his best guys. Just look on the positive side.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

At least Abe will get the boot after this, my guess is the Aso gave bad advice so it will be Abe out and Aso back in.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sorry, but schools are not really listening to Abe.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"It's still half measures - stay home, wash your hands, avoid other people. He's outsourcing responsibility to local governments and corporations," Kingston said.

Are they even given risk assessment mapping and other relevant data to take accurate measures and be able to communicate about these ?

Providing risk check tools to people could also be helpful if done properly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many schools close and the parents can’t take time off, and the result is?

Youtube won’t replace adult supervision!

I shudder to think of the headlines next month.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I was half listening to NHk's news at 7 and I think I heard that Ishikawa and Saga prefectures are not going to close their schools. But there are so many working parents who don't know what to do with their young children.

Yahoo said it would allow its employees to bring their young children to work. Not sure if that's a good idea or not. Maybe big companies can set up makeshift daycare centers on one of their floors but there would still be a need for staff to supervise the kids.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

""Society may fall apart," he said in a post. Kumagai said the city would close schools tentatively for two weeks from early March, but keep them open for children whose parents cannot take leave from work."

'Love it. Stay home from school in order to prevent spread of the virus and for your and your communities' safety... unless you need to go to school, or your parents want free babysitting.'

It's not even a half-measure. It's a half-measure of a half-measure, not enforced.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

If schools are closed, the teachers should get off too. What are they gonna do? Meetings for the whole day, every day? What if the teacher also had a child who was a student? Give the teachers the early spring break too.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Teachers can telecommute, if needed.

1 ( +3 / -2 )


Urges shutdown? I thought it was an order? What on earth is wrong with the leadership in this country?

He suggested that all schools be shut down. At least in Japanese. It wasn't a directive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I hope teachers in Japan make a bunch of money. The fact that teachers do NOT get to leave school when it is “closed” is ridiculous.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This guy was just carrying three 12 pack toilet papers. I saw a woman with two 12 pack toilet papers right before typhoon 19. This is one way to gauge the seriousness of the state.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well now hold on. Abe is dealing with what's on the ground and in the political spectrum. It really is a lose if you do, lose if you don't type situation. If the the choice was between shutting it down, or something more risky, but with probable good outcome, I can see why he chose the latter. Public safety over public discomfort. It's a rough call, but I think he's doing his best. No one really heeded the call to calm down and not panic, instead the world went off the rails, the U.S. stock exchange just about crashed, and and we're in the middle of a pandemic. So what else is there? Possible Mob rule or an iron fist, he chose the iron fist.

Now I could be proven wrong in the future, and if I am I'll admit it, but at the moment, I believe he was and is acting on actionable intelligence.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

when i heard this, i found it kind of hard to believe. are they really doing all of that??? well, obviously it is only schools. in japan they have always been known to go to school or work regardless if sick or not. i personally do not believe that should be enforced as it is quite selfish on the contrary as you are passing the illness and cold to others for trying to show how 'gaman' you are. nothing wrong with staying in, considering you can do so, in my opinion, for the safety of others. but for those living there, are they really shutting everything down like that? seems a bit extreme and overdoing it. but that virus is very unknown and it is not worth spreading.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Watch for Public transportation being shutdown.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Okay, I just went to the My Basket (Aeon) near where I live. The toilet paper, tissue paper, and kitchen paper towels are all gone. Sold out! Went to Seven and Lawson, gone.

The news says 98% of the toilet paper in Japan are made in Japan unlike the masks from China and so to not worry.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Use internet for school work, this is 21 century.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Okay, I just went to the My Basket (Aeon) near where I live. The toilet paper, tissue paper, and kitchen paper towels are all gone. Sold out! Went to Seven and Lawson, gone.

The news says 98% of the toilet paper in Japan are made in Japan unlike the masks from China and so to not worry.

That was due to a single rumour spread on social media that next, toilet paper/tissue paper was about to run out. Well, that spread quicker than the Corona has, and look at the result !

If panic ensures, it doesn't matter where it is made! Just crazy stuff going on here recently.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Stupid knee jerk reaction that nobody in the health care profession asked for.

Purely for Abe to look robust. Sadly just makes Japan look pitiful.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The WHO changed their estimate and the thread level is now high.

Hindsight is 2020. Either the WHO is wrong or Abe is ahead of the game.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Teachers can telecommute, if needed.

Not being offered as an option.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some private schools are giving a month off!

Big changes...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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