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Abe in dilemma as coronavirus response could cut both ways

50 Comments
By Noriyuki Suzuki

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Dilemmas of this scale sort out the professionals from the amateurs.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

"Bolder steps to curb infections raise the chances of the economy slipping into a recession."

Ah, the dilemma of a true freak -- should I put the money before the people. He can lie and hold off on doing the inevitable for as long as he wants to try and shore up some political points, but the longer he waits, the more the damage that is coming.

-2 ( +13 / -15 )

That Hachiko statue with a mask on picture is hilarious. It definitely represents Japan at the moment.

28 ( +29 / -1 )

Highly irresponsible to use a mask on the Hachiko statue when there is a shortage across the country.

There is a time for humor and this isn’t one...

-29 ( +8 / -37 )

But as the total number of infections in Japan surpasses 1,000, including about 700 from a quarantined cruise ship,

same words for days! One woman I know had symptoms tested negative for A&B flu but was told no when requesting corona test.... cooking the books like in China where Dr’s are bring given low quotas and when the reach them are instructed to state other infection not corona.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

The right order should be to strengthen border controls first and shift to preventing the spread of the virus in the next phase," said Masato Imai, an opposition lawmaker.

"Shouldn't the government have taken steps like a 14-day quarantine sooner?" Imai asked Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the top government spokesman, during a parliamentary session on Friday.

abe- too little too late~ as usual.

useless PM.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

What we have so far is hardly a state of emergency! And I fear what the extra 'measures' would involve. Are we going to see people dragged out of their homes because of the boogie-man like we saw in China? Or just place everyone under a quasi house arrest?

It wouldn't surprise me one bit if this whole thing is simply used at yet another power-grab and a chance to erode more of our rights.

What would the current government do in a real, bonafide emergency? Just scary...

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Closing the border will not really help, the virus is already in Japan.

I had to make a decision, based on known facts, before coming for a holiday in Japan last week. And the facts are, that the risk contracting the virus remains the same regardless if I cancel my trip and remain in Switzerland or if I fly to Japan and have a good time.

Therefore, washing the hands regularly and avoid crowded places is the only solution to mitigate the risks.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people worldwide abusing the virus for their hidden agenda, they will certainly not help to improve anything but bankrupt many businesses including hotels, airlines and restaurants.

I think Mr. Abe is right to refuse to enter the panic mode.

I had a great time in Japan and I am healthy and happy now.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Highly irresponsible to use a mask on the Hachiko statue when there is a shortage across the country.

There is a time for humor and this isn’t one....

I think that there is at least one mask to spare. And it is an excellent piece of social commentary.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

ulysses: "Highly irresponsible to use a mask on the Hachiko statue when there is a shortage across the country."

Not only that, but people here still don't want to admit that masks are simply psychological soothers for them and that masks do not help prevent the spread of virus whatsoever. What putting this waste of a mask on a statue means is that it itself must be diseased, or they want it to appear as such.

Ah_so: "I think that there is at least one mask to spare. And it is an excellent piece of social commentary."

Even if you think so, they could have used paper cut out like a mask. And to the social commentary part, I joked to one person, very proud of her hina doll collection, saying she forgot to put the masks on the dolls, and she explained how horrible an idea that was and that it was not funny, in a tone suggesting it might be akin to wiping one's backside with pages of the Bible or a Constitution. Must be a case by case thing.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

@Kobe White Bar Owner.

same words for days! One woman I know had symptoms tested negative for A&B flu but was told no when requesting corona test....

Shhh.... You are ruining the official narrative.

You need to look toward the initial outbreak in china when the numbers were coming out at a doubling rate every 6 days (which I picked up on).  

They can try cook the books as much as they like, but it doesn't change the way that viral infections spread. 

Also check out Liz Specht on Twitter for more. Her remarks were picked up by Peak Prosperity this morning. 

Fron Liz:

We can expect that we’ll continue to see a doubling of cases every 6 days (this is a typical doubling time across several epidemiological studies). Here I mean actual cases. Confirmed cases may appear to rise faster in the short term due to new test kit rollouts.

Not only this, but the death rate in Japan has been in single digits for weeks. It just doesn't add up.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

What I heard in the culoars that there will be a state of emergency declared in the upcoming week, maybe as soon as Monday-Tuesday.

And mask on Hachiko is so irresponsible.

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

"Daijobu!" No epidemic continued forever. The coronavirus comes to an end. Cure therapy (vaccine) will be available from next year.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Ah, the dilemma of a true freak -- should I put the money before the people. 

People need money to live. Only people who have never been poor believe money isn't important.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

masks do not help prevent the spread of virus whatsoever

But they do. I went to a shopping center today, and came into proximity with 100s of people, most of them wearing masks. Considering that one of those 100s of people may already be carrying the coronavirus, if that person is wearing a mask it will certainly reduce the spread of it. Two weeks without symptoms, so we are all potential carriers of the virus. Wearing a mask is good manners, and will certainly reduce the chance of us spreading the virus to others if we are infected. (And considering the government figures are way behind reality, one never knows.)

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Commanteer, please check responsible web sources for scientific information, such as the CDC. Your beliefs in the mask's effectiveness is ill-informed.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Well better on Hachiko then the used ones thrown on the street, hung on a tree branch or just tossed in the small waterway near my home.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Figures of cases per million inhabitants for Japan are so low that it is about same as UK. Lol

(check coronaworldometer)

Better to laugh than to cry since nothing will prevent the spreading without strong measures.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Wearing a mask and washing your hands are only as good as the person responsible. Both can be close to useless for some people; neither are 100% perfect most of the time.

Also, as commanteer says above, masks in public are generally regarded as good manners in Japan.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

PS Looks like someone has padlocked a disposable diaper onto Hachiko too!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

cooking the books like in China where Dr’s are bring given low quotas and when the reach them are instructed to state other infection not corona.

Sorry, i am not happy saying this, i am now more inclined to believe the cco numbers more than the J-government numbers. It is clear the numbers are low here because of the low number of test carried out.

I don't whether is by design or some other reason.

A large metropolis like tokyo cannot have double digit infections and one doesn't need to be a medical expert to figure that out.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Commanteer, please check responsible web sources for scientific information, such as the CDC. Your beliefs in the mask's effectiveness is ill-informed.

Erm..l have read the CDC reports. And they confirm that masks help prevent the spread of the virus when they are worn by an infected person. They also confirm that people may be infected for a couple weeks before it becomes obvious. Ergo, wearing masks helps, as I said, as you can't know who in a crowd is a carrier - or even if you are a carrier. You read my post correctly?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The smiling face mask is funny. Isnt that from some murder comedy?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Dear Teflon Leader,

Your narrow view of Japanese priorities has bitten you in the back.

The economy has taken precedence over health.

Not giving full support to people believing to be infected is only going to explode when least you want it.

At this time in Japan's emergency state please focus on the most urgent problem at hand: the health of your people. Put your heart into serving your people and not corporate leaders.

I'm looking forward to a new & vibrant Japan in the near future.

頑張る.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Interestingly enough, a major airline with whom I arranged a flight refund today blamed the Japanese government’s policy to impose severe restrictions on passengers as the reason for the airline to cancel scheduled trips from Japan

Not my opinion but an airline rep’s...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To people who say Abe should have acted sooner. It should be remembered that in Japan there are no permanent laws of national emegency. Unlike other countries that have them.

The reason is very simple. They're unconstitutional. That is why the Diet has to create a special temporary law at a forced march. And only for this case. Where it could not be resorted to in the future. Forcing Parliament to create special laws exclusively for each moment of crisis.

Law experts have been warning of this for years. The constitution must be changed so that emergency laws can remain in force permanently. But the refusal of the opposition parties is what has led back to this situation.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Bolder steps to curb infections raise the chances of the economy slipping into a recession.

Raises? The economy, contrary to Abe's saying otherwise, has been headed towards a recession for a while now, and now that is has become overly dependent upon tourism, which is a fickle industry to start with, things only look worse.

He wants to avoid more testing, because he fears more positive results which will deepen the sense of panic that some are feeling.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Anyone care to explain why they disagree with @ulysses comment on the wasting a face mask ?

I for one, would wonder whether the mask happened to be a discarded one - perhaps found lying upon the street.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

But the refusal of the opposition parties is what has led back to this situation

How convenient to blame the ineptude of the ldp and its coalition partner komeito on the opposition, the ruling party has an overwhelming majority and has used it to pass laws that were opposed by the opposition and unpopular with the public.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Where did the volunteer obtain masks ? Were they made from toilet paper ? I checked my local supermarkets todays - and the shelves now bare again - this simply goes to show that people are buying as soon as the toilet rolls are delivered - which is what I stated before. And will go on, until Shops take more stock than they need and refill the shelves continually in order to give the appearance of normality... or alternatively until the hoarders run out of space.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

commanteer: "People need money to live. Only people who have never been poor believe money isn't important."

Seems Abe is only concerned about private business and corporate profit when it comes to money, friend. All the people I know suffering as a result of this are the people who DO need money and have lost it thanks to this clown's dilly-dallying. They know it, and hence spend so much of their time backtracking on the closure of the schools, saying "It was only a suggestion!", etc.

"But they do. I went to a shopping center today, and came into proximity with 100s of people, most of them wearing masks. Considering that one of those 100s of people may already be carrying the coronavirus, if that person is wearing a mask it will certainly reduce the spread of it."

Forgive me, my comment was poorly worded. They do nothing to prevent you from catching the virus, and in fact, most people I know who often get sick are always wearing masks (not because they're sick, but to try and avoid GETTING sick) because masks make people complacent and careless. In my defense, though, that should have been a little evident since I did mention it is simply psychological in terms of effect, and unless the police officer in the photo is suggesting the dog is infected the "protective" mask he is putting on is to prevent the dog from getting sick. One more note, while I agree masks CAN be effective in preventing the spread of sickness from those who are sick, it only does so when people wear them correctly. Most people I see with masks adjust them at certain times, or lower them (pinching the part where moisture would have collected from their breath and their unbridled sneezing) to take a drink of something and then wipe their mouth with the back of their hand, or wear them up to but not covering noses, etc. But come on... surely you're not suggesting the 100 people in your anecdote at the shopping center today we're all sick, and have admitted it only helps in preventing spread from sick people. Do you believe all of them are wearing masks because they believe they might all be sick already and are being mindful of others? ha. I bet a few are wearing them for hay fever, a couple perhaps for a minor cold, and the rest think they are avoiding the virus and/or flu by wearing a mask.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

There is a time for humor and this isn’t one...

Nope, disagree completely. Humour in the face of difficulties is a useful psychological release valve (but being British it is a default setting anyway) there is no right time for humour.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I  think that there is at least one mask to spare.

You can check with those who’ve been unsuccessfully trying to buy masks over the last few days, they might not agree!!

And it is an excellent piece of social commentary.

A stupid, irresponsible piece of social commentary, if everyone follows suit we’ll have statues with masks and people without!!!!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

A legal change this week will allow Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to declare a state of emergency to address the new coronavirus outbreak if he deems it necessary.

What, exactly, does that entail?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Abe out! He seriously messed up. Bit more than likely his entire team (including the snake Aso) messed up!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

We will see how Abe's wait and see what happens pans out.

Xi is basically hiding in a bunker and only allowing certain media outlets to lie about the recovery.

tRump wants to do the same in the US, but too many independent news networks, so he is just lying directly to everyone. Remember how he said everything was ok for him to have rallies?

A person has tested positive for coronavirus after attending a conservative conference where White House officials were present

https://www.yahoo.com/news/person-tested-positive-coronavirus-attending-234307051.html

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It isn't just Abe's response but the world too.

No ordinary flu: Coronavirus and the lessons of the 1918 pandemic for a world on edge

https://www.yahoo.com/news/no-ordinary-flu-coronavirus-and-the-lessons-of-the-1918-pandemic-for-a-world-on-edge-110055200.html

As the death toll and number of people diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to climb, an expert tells Yahoo News there’s one big lesson that leaders should heed from a pandemic that killed at least 50 million people from 1918 to 1920: “Tell the truth.”

0 ( +1 / -1 )

While the virus outbreak and other such instances is of immediate concern, is it wise to place the emergency powers in the hands of one person?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Highly irresponsible to use a mask on the Hachiko statue when there is a shortage across the country.

There is a time for humor and this isn’t one...

Haha! I think it's pretty funny!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

He (Abe) seems psychologically incapable of dealing with a virus that is complex and uncertain. By now the virus is in every community and needs truth, honesty and intelligence — all absent from the incompetent Abe and his LDP cronies who are all pretenders. They are not testing people and not reporting new cases. If you do that, chances are that you give the virus chance to spread at an alarming rate and risking the lives of your people. Japan ought to be honest, transparent and open for once.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It isn't just Abe's response but the world too.

Yes, others are as bad and that's not a solace.

Timing changes totally the effect of decisions.. Now it's too late to quarantine and to block inbound travel into Japan. Should have been done in January or never.

So the only things Abe can achieve from now are 1. worsening economy (the mess of the tax hike planning was not enough ?). 2. possibly causing additional deaths by not doing what should be done at this point (sheltering elderlies and ill people rather than exposing them to contamination from kids not at school). 3. causing psychological distress in population.

You can check with those who’ve been unsuccessfully trying to buy masks over the last few days, they might not agree!!

Masks are single-use and have expiration date, so nobody is interested in buying a second-hand one, they all get discarded like the one that was put on the dog statue.

Then humor is a mindset, and if you don't have it now, you"ll never have it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Masks are single-use and have expiration date, so nobody is interested in buying a second-hand one, they all get discarded like the one that was put on the dog statue.

I am sure they did not reuse the mask on people, scientists are still debating whether statues can infect people, though statues of dogs are considered high risk.....

Then humor is a mindset, and if you don't have it now, you"ll never have it.

I stopped appreciating juvenile humor once I stopped being a juvenile..

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I stopped appreciating juvenile humor once I stopped being a juvenile..

What qualifies this humor as being juvenile? And who is the arbitrator of what is juvenile?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I cannot stand Abe never could, however, all leaders around the world handled this out break out criminally by not doing anything and permitting Chinese to travel freely. Abe should have put a full-stop on all Chinese coming into Japan when this virus first came out until there were answers as to what it was, the side effects and how to deal with it medically. With that said, again all world leaders should have done this and they did not and now there is an epidemic effecting everyone from children, to the elderly and families. I am a single working mother, self-employed wondering if I will have an income to feed and put a roof over my son's head.

I have done all I could weeks ago by purchasing masks off Amazon that are industrial that the health care professionals say are the most effective, try and stay indoors as much as possible and only go out for the bare essentials.

I wonder if this Genie can ever be put back in the bottle. To all World Leaders you let the ball slip big time on this one and shame on all of you.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I guess the long-term secret strategy of Abe in dealing with the COVID-19 virus is making the entire Japanese archipelago an incubator by deliberately delaying counter-measures and covering up information on epidemics, selectively decimating aged people to fundamentally change the age structure of the Japanese population, eventually to boost and rejuvenate the Japanese economy. It sounds brilliant, at least theoretically.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Just a thought... have we ever contained the flue? No, the flue runs it course every year. Of course there are measures to protect yourself, but it has never be contained. And this bug is fundamentally a super-flue, more contageous and with a higher death rate. So why do we think it can be contained?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just a thought... have we ever contained the flue? No, the flue runs it course every year. Of course there are measures to protect yourself, but it has never be contained. And this bug is fundamentally a super-flue, more contageous and with a higher death rate. So why do we think it can be contained?

I don't know why the layman thinks it can or can't be.

I know the professionals are doing what they can to contain it as an ideal, and as a secondary measure to slow it down so that it doesn't bog down the medical systems of the world, overloading their ability to provide care for the affected, leading to more deaths.

Should we just give up and let it sweep across everyone all at once, overwhelming hospitals everywhere? Or do you think it's maybe better to try to slow its progression as much as possible so that we have more resources on hand to be able to care for those who catch it?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Strangerland;

Should we just give up and let it sweep across everyone all at once, overwhelming hospitals everywhere?

Looks like it is sweeping everywhere no matter what we do.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Looks like it is sweeping everywhere no matter what we do.

If that were true, the infection rate would be much, much higher - major portions of all populations would already be affected.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"....before a rebound in the July-September quarter as the current mood of panic subsides."

Who says anything is going to get any better? Who even knows what's going to happen from here on out? Who knows if the Tokyo Olympics will even happen or not?

Before making any assumptions about the future we need to know for sure what we are dealing with. At this point, we don't. We are in uncharted territory and not a good place to be.

Fear the worst and hope for the best. That is all we can do right now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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