politics

Japan's ruling party policy chief seeks Diet debate on virus lockdown

52 Comments

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

© KYODO

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

52 Comments
Login to comment

It's not that we will immediately discuss this in the Diet, but we need to consider...

18 months into a pandemic with numbers now growing exponentially, and there's still no need to "immediately discuss"

2 ( +20 / -18 )

Japans political process is like watching a tranquillised tortoise racing for a cabbage leaf you know will become biomass well before the drugged and confused tortoise gets anywhere near it.

16 ( +26 / -10 )

Too late to do this now they just need to speed up the vaccinations.

24 ( +29 / -5 )

“Restrictions on individual rights must be kept to a minimum.”

What about the rights of the rest of the population who should be protected from this virus?

-16 ( +11 / -27 )

19 months into a worldwide pandemic, a 12 month delay on hosting ‘their own party’ and failing to inoculate the majority of the population in an effective & timely manner yet, NOW they want to talk about it?

“The policy chief of Japan's ruling LDP on Mon called for active debate in the Diet” -

11 ( +18 / -7 )

In the beginning, the purpose of Lockdowns were to prevent the spread of the virus and idioticaly some countries thinks you can bring your cases down to zero AND keep it at zero.

When you look around the world, and you still do not understand that Lockdowns don't bring the virus situation to zero cases, ...then sorry, but then you slept during the last 18 months.

The last 18 months showed the world that Lockdowns prevent the spread of the virus just temporary.

A legal revision to implement lockdowns makes zero sense, is completely against human rights and I agree here with Suga, it would not suit Japan.

The volunteer best prevention of each individual human being is necessary to keep the virus under control, not a legal revision for lockdowns.

13 ( +26 / -13 )

It’s Not “too little, too late”. Now’s the time is right to stage toe steps in their final coup to revise the constitution and take away more freedoms to control the people, labor & tax-revenues.

Support THAT, sugilosers?

0 ( +8 / -8 )

What about the rights of the rest of the population who should be protected from this virus?

Do you mean the the fraction of a percent this virus is actually deadly to?

7 ( +17 / -10 )

There is NO NEED to go into a totalitarian state.

19 ( +28 / -9 )

The volunteer best prevention of each individual human being is necessary to keep the virus under control, not a legal revision for lockdowns.

What if the populace don't 'volunteer', which they aren't doing at all right now? What's your Plan B?

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

If any truely lethal mutations, lets say on par with diseases like smallpox or worse, come out of the pandemic are yet to be seen. In my opinion, Corona and its varients are a serious matter not as serious yet as smallpox was and a good practice in how prepared some counties are in dealing with diseases.

They also show how far countries will go to protect their citizens and take away basic freedoms in the name of emergency which could also could lead to a lethal mix of over reaching power and authority that could also be abused.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Japans political process is like watching a tranquillised tortoise racing for a cabbage leaf you know will become biomass well before the drugged and confused tortoise gets anywhere near it.

Good one, lol.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Luckily the facist behavior shown by the governments of Australia/Europe/some communist states in the US is not possible in Japan.

3 ( +16 / -13 )

NO LOCKDOWNS, IT DID NOT work and will not for Japan.

The key is to continue vaccinating the general public 24/7 if it takes. Lockdowns caused economic disasters and hardship abroad especially for the hard working class and vulnerable.

12 ( +21 / -9 )

Yet another attempt by the far-right to destroy Japan's Peace Constitution.

Shimomura appears in this video, filmed at a Nippon Kaigi meeting a few years ago, alongside some other well-known Japanese politicians:

https://amara.org/en/videos/Sn9Zc0UeRQzF/en/1405913/3792355/

The comments on popular sovereignty, human rights and pacisifism are worth noting.

-4 ( +12 / -16 )

No more lockdowns and no more power given to this gaggle of fools. Check out Hakubun Shimomura’s history and you will see why he is one of the last people who should be asking for more control over people’s lives. Hats off to Katsunobu Kato for actually thinking about the people.

What about the rights of the rest of the population who should be protected from this virus?

Dude, protect yourself. The rest of the world isn’t going to cower in fear with you forever.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

Can't enforce a lock down because it's against the constitution. There's no room for debate.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

I'm glad to see the government has actually seen sense on this issue. Just look at Australia, calling in the bloody army to enforce the law barely anybody is dying of it.

Too many people lost the plot last year

13 ( +19 / -6 )

Those who feel the need to protect themselves from a virus which mortality rate is lower than the odds of winning the lottery should keep wearing their masks, get their inoculation, lock themselves up in their homes or whatever other measures they see fit.

I mean if you're vaccinated, you're safe right? That's why you chose to get that poison in the first place. Not?

Well, anyways, don't even try to force your opinion on ppl who are not as paranoid as you.

-12 ( +10 / -22 )

Oh, so you are thinking of doing a real lockdown.

The only truly effective way to stamp out the virus (ask NZ) is for all citizens to stay home for 7 weeks.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

"We need to make preparations. It's not that we will immediately discuss this in the Diet, but we need to consider legal revisions as needed from the standpoint of the people,"

Maybe this is something that should have been done a year and a half ago? It's a bit late now, especially after a bunch of wishy-washy SoEs, to try to get the people on board. You allowed the Olympics for god's sake!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Oh, a DEBATE! Phew! We're saved!

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

Anyway, right on schedule... Olympics almost finished, so it's time to start talking about things they should have more than a year back.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Japan's ruling party policy chief seeks Diet debate on virus lockdown

I call BS. This debate should have been held one year ago. Now it's vaccination-time.

If they want to discuss, they should discuss on whether there are enough vaccines in the country. If not, why not. If yes, why is the vaccine not getting in people's arms?

The only reason the LDP wants to debate this at this stage, is for a possible inclusion in their targeted constitutional revision. Nothing more.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

The policy chief of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Monday called for active debate in the Diet on legal revisions that would introduce lockdowns to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Duplicitous, despicable to  weaponize this pandemic to leverage and force through constitutional change.

"We need to make preparations. It's not that we will immediately discuss this in the Diet, but we need to consider legal revisions as needed from the standpoint of the people," Hakubun Shimomura told reporters.

Vaccinate the people. Hakubun Shimomura

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Those who feel the need to protect themselves from a virus which mortality rate is lower than the odds of winning the lottery

What lottery give you chances of 1 on a thousand? your local candy store?

And no, reducing those chances is not the only reason, it can be also having an interest in protecting other people, including some that have strong vulnerabilities but can't be vaccinated, or being interested in preventing the appearance of new variants that could be even more dangerous, it can be also trying to help into reaching appropiate levels of herd immunity to reduce the risk in general to the population, etc. etc.

I mean, if you are not a self-centered person there are a lot of reasons to be vaccinated, and even if you are as long as you are rational you would also choose the least risky option for yourself.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Err... It's a little to late to be "debating" this issue isn't it? Like a whole year and a half too late? I think the government would be better off streamlining the vaccine program. At the rate things are going, getting everyone vaccinated is probably the best route.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

 It's not that we will immediately discuss this in the Diet, but we need to consider legal revisions as needed from the standpoint of the people," Hakubun Shimomura told reporters.

Successive LDP governments have done nothing at all from the "standpoint of the people " - stop pretending you wanna start now Hakubun.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I agree with the LDP geniuses - no lockdowns are needed. Besides, maintaining Japans' COVID fight targeted against drinkers seems to be working out just fine.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No lockdowns, no change in Constitution.

Give not an iota more of the people's power away!

I mean, if you are not a self-centered person there are a lot of reasons to be vaccinated, and even if you are as long as you are rational you would also choose the least risky option for yourself.

The arrogance in your statement is astounding.

And you would be the judge of what is "rational" for someone else?

Just as the govt. would have the ability to decide for its constituents,

what is best for them?

The nanny state, on steroids.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Japan will be able to realize even lockdown by existing "the Basic Act on Disaster Measures".

But present Japan's LDP who are never liberal and never democratic only want to exploit present crisis to revise constitution.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The nanny state, on steroids.

Some people need a nanny, especially one on steroids. Most people don't have the fortitude nor stoicsm to endure and defeat this pandemic, and so they need that nanny to step in and wipe theirr bottoms.

If the state wasn't considering other measures to stop the current rapid spread of the virus I'm guessing you'd be a bit hysterical about that too.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Who cares ?!!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The arrogance in your statement is astounding.

I give plenty of reasons for people to vaccinate, but that depend on considering the welfare of others, there is no arrogance on conceding the condition that those reason applying only if the person is not completely self centered, in which case they cease to have importance (for this person).

And you would be the judge of what is "rational" for someone else?

Things can be qualified as rational or not in an objective way, for those cases some people may not choose rationally for many personal motives but that do not make their choice rational. In the case of vaccines it is clear that the only rational option for people in general is vaccinating, because comes with less risk, proven scientifically.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

There is NO NEED to go into a totalitarian state.

Yes, of course not, nobody demands such a thing. But would you be ready to stand a strict lockdown for about three months, to clear the situation that has demanded all of us for almost two years and will otherwise also continue to demand us? No? Then just expect never seen before economic, widespread mental illnesses and LongCovid disease and on average a very shortened life expectancy. It’s not anymore about the state form, it’s simply about own life or death.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

His remarks came a day after the National Governors' Association agreed to ask the central government to study ways to impose lockdowns to better contain the virus in Japan amid growing concern about the transmission of the more contagious Delta variant.

They don't already know how to impose lockdowns?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You can just choose not to play the game and live your normal life.

No you can’t. Maybe as a very rich individual, on an isolated island with some millions as background, otherwise not. A normal country or society can’t stand one wave after another, education problems, many unhealthy LongCovid people, economic downturn and a lot more. Also we all won’t stand many more waves, the permanent 24h attack on our immune system as well as growing into more vulnerable age groups etc. You just won’t have the choice you wrote about or will be capable to avoid that ‘game’.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A Japanese law covering measures against the novel coronavirus states that restrictions on individual rights must be kept to a minimum, given that the Constitution calls for the respect of basic human rights.

What about the respect of basic human rights of foreign residents in Japan which were denied to reenter the country from April to November 2020 ????

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

the Constitution calls for the respect of basic human rights.

Personally I don’t want the government to have power to lock me up if I decide to go outside for some exercise but government types disagree with my judgement.

Japan has fared pretty well through the pandemic as opposed to certain other countries.

What cost are people prepared to be burdened with, to achieve what objectives?

This virus isn’t going anywhere.

Getting vaccinated against it is the best course of action that I can see. And government arrangements have failed to provide adequate vaccine supplies, so why would I want to let the government have power to lock people up in relation?

As a foreigner in Japan I feel even more inclined to object to the suggestion of the people granting more power to government types. I’d rather we had the opposite in fact.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

When people never had any bloody clue about what a true lockdown feels like, they better stop whining and suck it up instead for once. If the majority within the Diet as a whole votes FOR the lockdown, what will you do? Leave the country? Do it, but most countries out there will hardly have tolerance towards irresponsible immigrants. As far as I'm concerned, I swear that Japan should have done it at least once under the previous prime minister.

Limit your outings 1) for buying food and utilities, 2) to go to work if you're an essential worker, and 3) if you want to get tested or get vaccinated during the day. That is how you crush the COVID curve. My home Canadian province of Quebec had to go into a few lockdowns as the situation demanded since the first wave, but the last one in the spring worked perfectly in preventing the third wave as the vaccine rollout started picking up the pace at that time.

The moral of the story is that freedom is empty if you have no sense of responsibility towards society. What is freedom if you stay unvaccinated and do stuff that leads to infecting your father, your mother, or even your best friends? That's not freedom. That's being irresponsible and selfish. In fact, many people here need to look at themselves in the mirror.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@fxgai

Getting vaccinated against it is the best course of action that I can see. And government arrangements have failed to provide adequate vaccine supplies, so why would I want to let the government have power to lock people up in relation?

As a foreigner in Japan I feel even more inclined to object to the suggestion of the people granting more power to government types.

Eventually we will face a variant of this virus or an entirely new and deadlier cornonavirus with no effective treatment or vaccine. Draconian lockdowns, quarantining and longterm international and intercity travel bans are the only guaranteed tools we have in a pandemic. I think Japan should have a plan and laws in place to use them if necessary.

Having a vaccine is great, but not if it comes at the cost of being ill-prepared for the next deadlier pandemic.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Draconian lockdowns, quarantining and longterm international and intercity travel bans are the only guaranteed tools we have

But who decides whether the costs are worth it?

Are you going to pay higher taxes to support those who bear the brunt?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Draconian lockdowns, quarantining and longterm international and intercity travel bans are the only guaranteed tools we have in a pandemic.

Utter nonsense.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@fxgai

But who decides whether the costs are worth it?

The sovereign. The Prime Minister in this case. Who else could it be?

Are you going to pay higher taxes to support those who bear the brunt?

Yes, within reason. Exceptional circumstances call for exceptional measures. Carefully crafted legislation could also include additional taxes and levies on industries such as food delivery, online retail and online entertainment, all of which are guaranteed extraordinary profits from any mandatory lockdowns. This would offset some of the costs.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The Prime Minister in this case. Who else could it be?

I see, but concentrating the decision in the hands of a single person doesn’t make me feel any more relaxed about it.

It’s one persons guess, and in Japan the PM is essentially elected by the old boys club within the LDP. Not renowned for their fine judgement.

Former PM Mori made a career of gaffes, but still we see his mug on TV in relation to the Olympics. These people seem to be kept clinging to power no matter how much the people want them gone.

So I like Japan’s constitution putting constraints on these clowns and prioritizing protecting the freedoms of the people.

Yes, within reason.

May I opt out? Fine for you if you want to pay more tax, but can’t the rest of us have a choice? Oh yeah that lasts right we can’t can we. All must be compelled to do as the PM decrees. Yikes.

Exceptional circumstances call for exceptional measures.

Need specifics otherwise power hungry nutters will find a reason to abuse the power…

Carefully crafted legislation

Carefully crafted legislation…

hahaha

could also include additional taxes and levies on industries such as food delivery, online retail and online entertainment, all of which are guaranteed extraordinary profits from any mandatory lockdowns. This would offset some of the costs.

All the extra bureaucracy created to administer this will cost too.

We need to consider both options properly.

The option without government going crazy without these costs, and the government option going crazy with the costs… in either way I’m not sure either way is guaranteed to produce a more favorable outcome, so I’d go with the cheap no cost option myself and hang on to my freedom to step out my door each day.

And remember, the government option is never guaranteed to work. If one reads the news at Japan Today, it’s typically news about government failure.

Freedom and liberty is not always perfect but 99 times out of 100 I’d back it to produce better results for individuals.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@fxgai

I see, but concentrating the decision in the hands of a single person doesn’t make me feel any more relaxed about it.

The decision to go to war or declare martial law is already in the hands of one person so I don't see how emergency lockdown powers would be any different. It's not feasible to have a committee of business leaders and scientists deciding these questions. They can be consulted where possible, but the nature of an emergency power is that it needs to be exercised quickly in an emergency. Vesting that power in a single person helps with that urgency.

To be clear, I'm not saying we need to seal the borders and confine people in response to the current situation, but I think the government should have these powers to deal with any future emergencies (new deadlier mutations, new pandemics, etc).

Former PM Mori made a career of gaffes, but still we see his mug on TV in relation to the Olympics. These people seem to be kept clinging to power no matter how much the people want them gone.

The quality of leadership obviously matters but you're always going to have someone at the top. Democracy guarantees that every elected leader will be more on the charismatic side than technically competent. What's the alternative?

So I like Japan’s constitution putting constraints on these clowns and prioritizing protecting the freedoms of the people.

In a genuine state of emergency, none of your constitutional rights or freedoms will be respected by the government, the courts, or your fellow citizens. You need to come to terms with this truth. All freedoms are fair-weather freedoms. The best you can hope for is an apology and some compensation after the emergency has passed (like the Japanese interned during WW2).

If the pandemic had a 50% mortality rate, you better believe that the Japanese government would shut the borders and lock you down regardless of what the constitution says. If we accept this, isn't it better to plan in advance how these draconian measures might be rolled out (if needed) rather than sticking our heads in the sand and pretending they can never be implemented?

May I opt out? Fine for you if you want to pay more tax, but can’t the rest of us have a choice? Oh yeah that lasts right we can’t can we. All must be compelled to do as the PM decrees. Yikes.

Yes, depending on your situation. You are always free to leave Japan if another country is willing to take you. As long as you live here, you have to follow the rules set by society. Paying taxes is one of those rules.

Freedom and liberty is not always perfect but 99 times out of 100 I’d back it to produce better results for individuals.

99 times out of 100, yes. But there will always be those few exceptions where we are better served by allowing extraordinary action to be taken.

That said, I don't necessarily disagree with your distrust of government in certain contexts. If my government had no interest in my well-being, was actively working against my interests, and was using my taxes to fund people and projects I fundamentally disagreed with, I would probably share your outlook. Fortunately, I don't feel this way.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

lockdowns have not worked anywhere and have been proven wrong by studies and time, and yet these guys want to have them. This is idiocracy.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

lockdowns have not worked anywhere and have been proven wrong by studies and time, and yet these guys want to have them. This is idiocracy.

Lockdowns have been proven both effective and ineffective depending on where and when. To say they have 'not worked anywhere' is as inaccurate as saying that they have 'worked everywhere'. Lockdowns helped to prevent millions of cases at a time when there was no vaccine and effective treatment.

I'm guessing you are one of those 'if it it doesn't work 100%, then it's 0%' people.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Funny, you fight against something that hasn’t been even tried out once. What you call lockdowns that didn’t work, were in fact no lockdowns, so of course they cannot and won’t work. No, in contrary, all your measures through all those months , 40% efficient vaccines, naive dreaming of a near herd immunity and very mild restrictions to keep the economy (but also the viruses) running , have led to nothing else than further rising infection numbers and waves. Give a real lockdown a try to prove it right or wrong. Otherwise please just stop your arguments and complaining against a mirage you call lockdown but is only a naive minimum and not effective restriction catalog. You all cannot live with the virus, that’s sheer impossible in a midrange or longer time span. Any transition matrix shows you what only scenario will happen. It’s better to comprehend that very fast.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Democracy guarantees that every elected leader will be more on the charismatic side than technically competent. What's the alternative?

Freedom and liberty are the first option, and the way I see Japan’s constitution (not a scholar) is democracy is a fallback when the first option doesn’t work.

I won’t have democracy telling some people to go jump off a bridge - that’s infringes on freedom and liberty.

So too does the notion of a lockdown where people (foreigners) could get thrown in jail.

The Japanese constitution does provide a loophole when it talks about “the public welfare” or something. But it does make it clear that life liberty and pursuit of happiness be paramount.

In a genuine state of emergency, none of your constitutional rights or freedoms will be respected by the government, the courts, or your fellow citizens.

I don’t know about that.

If the pandemic had a 50% mortality rate, you better believe that the Japanese government would shut the borders and lock you down regardless of what the constitution says.

If stepping out the door each morning gave each of us a 1 in 2 chance of death, you don’t think individuals would make an appropriate choice on their own behalf anyway?

The government types are just people like the rest of us. They have no better judgement than the typical individual and the typical individual can beat make a decision for him/herself than someone else can.

If we accept this,

So I don’t. I think decentralized choice making will produce better overall results. By overall I mean considering a range of aspects of outcome.

Yes, depending on your situation. You are always free to leave Japan if another country is willing to take you. As long as you live here, you have to follow the rules set by society. Paying taxes is one of those rules.

Yes, but there has been no vote on this proposal yet. If there are to be higher taxes imposed on those who disagree with this lockdown approach then there should be a vote on that first. I thinking the izakaya operators will be opposed as well as their diners, and I am not sure how much money they would expect you to pony up to compensate them, and I’d rather just let them be free to choose and take their own precautions than command them what to do from afar.

said, I don't necessarily disagree with your distrust of government in certain contexts.

Let me be clear, it’s not that a distrust government. Government does have an important role in setting rules.

But my view is that decentralized decision making typically leads to superior outcomes. It’s not that I distrust government so much as I think centralized decision making, removed from the people it directly effects, can almost never be as good as decentralized decision making.

There are some exceptions, such as if the Russians decided to invade, as each individual could likely not protect their own interests. In the case of disease, I don’t see the two as being the same level. And Japan has done pretty well through the pandemic compared to other places that did try lockdown style approaches, in my view.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And Japan has done pretty well through the pandemic compared to other places that did try lockdown style approaches, in my view.

I agree. But the reason for this is Japan's relative isolation and the continuing restrictions placed on international travel. I don't think it's because individuals in Japan are making better personal decisions than others around the world.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes, that sounds a little bit more realistic than ‘victory over the virus’ or pandemic is soon over when all have been vaccinated. It’s not the full truth, as almost nobody could stand it, but it indicates the beginning of a thinking process. That alone is a reason to celebrate.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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