politics

Japan's low virus mortality rate reflects social manners: Aso

107 Comments

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

© KYODO

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

107 Comments
Login to comment

What does "social manners" even mean. Bowing instead of shaking hands? Boozing it up at hostess clubs while a girl suggestively strokes your leg?

40 ( +49 / -9 )

Amazing how this muppet at his age is still in a position of public power.

Maybe the real answer at his non sense comment is the very low tests that his country did and still do to avoid the real numbers.

What a racist joke is this man.

37 ( +57 / -20 )

"I have received phone calls (from overseas) asking 'Do you have any drug that only you guys have?' My answer is the level of social manners is different, and then they fall silent," said Aso 

That silence doesn't mean what you think it means Aso-san.

The whole world is aware of Japan's incredibly low level of testing. It's not down to the good old "Nihon jinron" Japanese racial and cultural superiority.

If I were to pin it on anything I'd say it has a lot more to do with obesity rates and the general health of the population.

32 ( +40 / -8 )

Come in people we all know this is code to mean that Japan is superior to the rest of the world. That is the type of thinking that Aso and other dinosaurs in the LDP really harbor! If you didn't know, you would have thought he was kind of joking, but he is telling what he believes to be the truth.

28 ( +33 / -5 )

country's higher "level of social manners."

Stupid nationalistic propaganda. OMG...give me a break.

24 ( +35 / -11 )

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso said Thursday that Japan's relatively low mortality rate from the new coronavirus reflects the country's higher "level of social manners."

I doubt it. Socio-cultural behaviors can't account for the big disparity (at about 1:100 ratio) regarding the death toll among countries. Away from East Asia, Africa is also the least virus-hit.

A more plausible explanation has something to do with "prior immunity" or anti-body precondition held by some population before the arrival of covid-19. Further inquiries will be needed while I'm opting for it.

20 ( +26 / -6 )

Following Aso's "logic" - South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and others in the region - all must have a "higher level of social manners" than Japan, since they all have lower mortality.

The guy has lost his marbles.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Damn near every day you have to read some bs like this. Now all the brainwashed will start parroting this nonsense that they are somehow superior. Many people in the other countries had pre-existing conditions which made them more vulnerable to getting the virus and more likely to die. Japan barely tested anyone and didn't do many autopsies. I do agree that it didn't hit here as hard as I thought it would but it was just mostly plain dumb luck. This guy is a real piece of sh..uh, work.

16 ( +21 / -5 )

Ha ha!

This comment on social manners comes from a guy that picks out his ear wax in the Japanese parliament , on live TV!

16 ( +20 / -4 )

"Why is noone from this goverment standing up and make his mouth stop spitting out all these phlegm? What does he has that's so special that allows him to talk all these nonsense and noone dares to confront him in public?"

I guess you don't know much about Aso Taro. He is extremely high political royalty in a country run by political royalty. His maternal grandfather, Yoshida Shigeru, was prime minister of Japan for about 7 years between 1946 and 1954. His wife is the daughter of Suzuki Zenko, prime minister from 1980 to 1982. Aso's great-great grandfather was Okubo Toshimichi, an important "founding father" of modern Japan in the Meiji Era. And as if that weren't enough, Aso's sister married the retired emperor's cousin.

So Aso himself hasn't really done anything special. But he won the birth lottery, and for that reason I'm guessing that makes it hard for anybody in Japan to confront him in public about the things he says.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Ah_so

they didn't test and I'm sure that a lot of infections went unreported, but they have not had an unexpected increase in death rates.

It will be illuminating to see if "natural causes" or "pneumonia" deaths went up over the past few months.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

I still wonder why so many people like to speak about things as facts without even a hint of data to support it.

Some virus researchers in Japan have found people that have no specific antibodies against this virus, but when their blood is tested it shows low-level protection against the virus. Nobody yet knows why this happens or how common it is, but that is a much better explanation. It may just be genetics, it may be that some of the usual seasonal colds coronavirus that are around in Japan are similar enough so people have antibodies that help a little (just enough so the body have time to produce the specific ones), it may be something on the diet, who knows?

The difference is that no researcher is on the TV firmly saying this is the reason for the low death rates, and that is because everybody is first trying to confirm it and avoid the embarrassment of being contradicted later.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

"国民の民度のレベルが違う"

"We Japanese are superior (to the rest of the world) in terms of our cultural standards (and that is why not many people died from the virus)"

This is what I interpret it to mean. The way he said it and how it is worded.

It reminds me somewhat of the propaganda the British Empire used in the 19th century.

Who would actually say such a thing unless they either wanted to antagonize the listener or were simply racist and didn't give a damn.

Why say such a thing even if you believe it?

Would it not have been better to praise the doctors, medicine, the nation's cooperation, the kids and teachers who had to adjust their schedules, airport staff who had to take extra precautions, or perhaps even just say that Japan has been lucky this time. No, DPM Aso had to play the xenophobic note and divide it between "us and them".

He can sleep soundly tonight knowing that the Japanese are superior and will weather any storm because of it.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

"The United States imposed fines on people who broke lockdown rules, and France did so too. 

There you go, Aso. Without their hugs and kisses, they still had a high death rate. Your point thrown out the window.

@Capuchin: thanks for a great laugh this morning!!!!

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Oh yes, Mr Aso. How many new cases were there in Tokyo the other day? 23?

Perhaps the coldness and no emotions shown does have something to do with the low cases, especially in families. There’s something to be proud of.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Good old racist Aso. And instead of Japan dealing with him effectively, they'll likely make him PM again. But I wonder if Aso realizes that by saying the low death rate in Japan is because of "mindo", he is saying that South Korea and Taiwan have a superior moral society -- because they have had less death than Japan. And if he tries to pull the, "Well, that's because Japan taught them bathing and education" garbage that the wingers love to spout, he's only then saying they have improved on it where Japan has failed, and again are superior to Japan.

Well done, Aso!

11 ( +19 / -8 )

Oh he can piss right off.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

"I have received phone calls (from overseas) asking 'Do you have any drug that only you guys have?' 

Why would they be calling him?

Objective

Aso's opinion is that Japan's unique societal ways have helped keep the deaths down. We know the diet is better here. The public has always worn masks in large numbers. Cleanliness is taught and practiced from a young age. People rarely shake hands or hug. They take their shoes off in homes helping to avoid spread of disease.

I agree with all of that except for the 'Cleanliness is taught...' part. Is that to suggest it isn't taught anywhere else? In my observations, Japanese wash their hands properly much less frequently than people where I'm from. Ever used a public male restroom here? A 0.25 second splash of cold water is not 'Cleanliness.' Nor is spitting in a communal sink or urinating in public.

My humble theory is that Japanese people have limited 'social circles' which limits possible spread of the virus. By way of illustration, when colleagues of company A socialise after work, they seldom mix and mingle with people from companies B and C, but rather stick to their own group, unlike social groups in other countries which may have more inter-group contact.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

thepersoniamnowToday  03:07 pm JST

Bunch of westerners on here who can’t fathom that another culture may have done something that turned out better than their plans?

It is pretty apparent that Japanese are different and that may have helped them THIS time.

Being awkwards and non sociable doesnt always help Japanese always...at least it did this time around.

You don't know any of that. And if you're right, how do you explain the Western nations that did much better than Japan (NZ, Australia, Iceland etc.)?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Well, using this Aso's same logic, people from Hong Kong and Taiwan are extremely well-behaved and have superior social manners. And Taiwan didn't even need a state of emergency. Heck, even the South Koreans have a higher moral ground.

"I have received phone calls (from overseas) asking 'Do you have any drug that only you guys have?' My answer is the level of social manners is different, and then they fall silent," said Aso at a parliamentary session in the House of Councillors.

Christ, he is beginning to sound like Trump: 'Somebody walked up to me and said, Sir,......'

Aso, new cases have gone up these past few days. Does that mean the Japanese have been naughty?

By the way, the New Zealanders have been impeccable! They must have wonderful manners.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

World Health Organization Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus hailed the result of Japan's efforts in tackling the virus spread as a "success" after the lifting of the emergency declaration.

Doez WHO also hail so loudly the success of cluntries such as Cambodia, Vietnam etc that had way more ' success' but do not contribute zillions to WHO funding like Japan does?

8 ( +12 / -4 )

@Mocheake,

I agree with you.

I have noticed recently that a few Japanese people who were wearing their masks under their chin in order to smoke or breathe in some fresh air have immediately pulled their mask up to put it on properly when they see me approaching.

Seems like it is a 'gaijin disease' now pretty much like HIV was back in the 1990s.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

This is as ridiculous and misinformed as the "this is a pen" comparison.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I guarantee you that if you interviewed 1000 people on the street all around Japan, the vast majority will agree with him

This is because Japanese people are socially conditioned to believe that they are "exceptional" or different from the rest of the world. Aso's statements proves it. And it's not just him, the media is propagating the same dangerous rhetoric. And because of that, people believe that they are invulnerable and that this virus can't affect them because they are Japanese.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

He said that island nation citizens cooperate with their governments or something to that effect. He also added that there were no protests referring to the US. It was in Japanese on the news.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

... And this guy is responsible for Japan's economy and running the cou try in case Abe san is not able??????

Seems fact checking in our age has become a thing not required anymore. Moreover seems people like Aso (uneducated, unliterate, unaware of the reality and the rest of the world and complete out of touch from the wants and needs of their people) are becoming more and more common.

Why? Why is noone from this goverment standing up and make his mouth stop spitting out all these phlegm? What does he has that's so special that allows him to talk all these nonsense and noone dares to confront him in public?

Cmon Japan you are way better than this!!!

7 ( +12 / -5 )

In that case Aso, we Osakans are the best, please don't clump your fake Tokyoite with us.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

BurakuminDesToday  08:25 am JST

The guy has lost his marbles.

You're assuming he had any marbles to begin with :-)

7 ( +8 / -1 )

> Meiyouwenti

This may sound far fetched and is probably a conspiracy theory but, in its bid to topple the US hegemony and rule the globe,

Actually, there are theories that support this, but realistically, its more likely that there are multiple strains of this virus, and Japan and AP just got the weaker strain.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

This, analysis although archived, provides a insight into Geographic mutations, its global cause and effect.   

Molecular Evolution Analysis and Geographic Investigation of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-Like Virus in Palm Civets at an Animal Market and on Farms.

https://jvi.asm.org/content/79/18/11892

.......

"I have received phone calls (from overseas) asking 'Do you have any drug that only you guys have?' My answer is the level of social manners is different, and then they fall silent," said Aso at a parliamentary session in the House of Councillors.

Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Taro Aso, ill-informed miss-conceptions, peppered with gaffe prone customary Aso San embarrassing rude inuendo, insinuating that Globally Japan social manners define a racial purity. Is truly remarkable, in a desire to offend.

I am frankly angry and appalled.

I received Grandmothers government issue masks yesterday.

Grandmother passed away last Friday, a combination of old age/and the numerous medications had finally taken its toll.

The irony is receiving the masks, intuitive of Aso San perverse priorities, ill mannered logic.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan is "unique and extraordinary". "Japan is doing everything right and does not need anything from anyone in the ways of handling this". This is the narrative that LDP has meant to be pushing from the beginning with it's no test "strategy".

Japan is unique in many ways, but... Aso's statement just looks pathetic when you know the whole context.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Taro Aso, the finance minister, said on Monday that the elderly should be allowed to "hurry up and die" to relieve pressure on the state to pay for their medical care.

"Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government," he said during a meeting of the national council on social security reforms. "The problem won't be solved unless you let them hurry up and die."

Is this the same guy as the Taro Aso who is referenced in this article? If so, you would think he would tell

Japanese old people to go out and liberate the economy like Trump has insisted so they could hurry up and die. Most do not remember these Aso words of wisdom seven years ago.

No question USA is total failure on the COVID front. Waited too long to react, lifted stay in place orders too soon. Killed 100,000 plus Americans. Many of those who voted for Trump are now dead due to Trump. Japan has done much better but that cannot be linked to government policy which has also been nearly completely inept. Waited too long, may be lifted policies too soon as well. But regardless the people are all masked on the streets and using disinfectants all the time as they go about their tasks. Amazing to see. In USA people are shot if they ask others to wear a mask. It happens here in Japan as a matter of course and people obey. Social pressure, shame, is a powerful force in this country. USA could use more of it but that will not happen under current leadership.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

‘Muggsy’ is back at it again, talking out of his crooked mouth.

I fall silent...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

japanese-tv-program-says-english-pronunciation-is-to-blame-for-coronavirus-spread

Yeah, allright then...that must be why countries such as Italy, Spain, Brazil etc had such grim statistics....all of their populations communicate in Engllish daily.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@virusrex

> I still wonder why so many people like to speak about things as facts without even a hint of data to support it.

It is the nature of politicians to do so.

Maybe, more scientists in Japan should become politicians instead?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Gaffe Aso

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Aso san is a funny comedian. Whats wrong? He's funny!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

NZ has better social manners because they have a death rate of 5 per million.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

To all the commenters agreeing with Aso that Japan is more 'hygienic', how do you define hygienic?

Wearing masks has little to no effect on viruses. A lot of research as been done on this.

Since when was Japan the only country where people take off their shoes, and how does that affect whether you contract a virus or not. You just have to wash your hands. Where is it not normal to wash your hands regularly?

Silliness

5 ( +8 / -3 )

That's Taro Aso's way! He's an attractive congressman. His way of talking even in this kind of ironic remarks prompt smiles among audiences. The sad truth is that people who read his comments in written forms misunderstand him.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

higher level of social manners - ya mean like Deri-health delivery massage and sex, Soaplands, host and hostess clubs, izakayas, trains, public transit jammed packed with people having a great time?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

As a matter of fact, Japan's hygiene standards are well above the Western "civilised"world,

I'm sorry, Ebisen, but that's bolleaux.

Disposal of household trash? Vinyl bags in the street.

Need a poo at the station, or when you're out in the park with your kids? Good luck finding soap in the washrooms.

If you're 60 or over, you've got carte blanche to pee and gob in the street.

Japan does seem to have largely evaded the plague. But it ain't because of some mystical WarewareNihonjin cleanliness.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@since1981

As much I hate this idiot, I have to agree with him. Japanese, from what I have seen first hand are wearing masks, using alcohol provided at the entrance of every establishment I have visited, telling people to put on a mask in stores, and are taking it upon themselves to avoid large crowds whenever possible.

I and my wife just yesterday went to a large shopping plaza. Everyone, and I say everyone was wearing a mask and using alcohol provided. I did however see two non-Japanese walking around not wearing a mask. I was surprised at the number of people who approached them to make comment. They eventually left the store.

We are down to 1,215 active cases and on a daily decline. The people of Japan have stepped up their game a are doing a great job...

And I've been on commuter trains all last week into Tokyo and seen some Japanese-looking people NOT wearing masks (while walking outside and in the trains), while I've seen very little, if any, people in Japan socially distance (at shops, etc). I've also seen most people in public Japanese toilets (outside stations, at parks, etc) only use water (as no soap we provided) and/or not even wash their hands after urinating/defecating.

Meanwhile my parents in the UK, and my American friends have been wearing face coverings, socially distancing and washing their hands with either santiser, or the readily available soap, provided in most, if not all public toilets in their own countries.

Your point?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I Meant that the Japanese are NOT wearing masks. Kids at the park still crowd around and no one is listening. So he is wrong

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why don't he tell us why the suicide rate is so much higher here than the rest of the world"....Is this social Manners too ?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

New Zealand? South Korea? Taiwan? Is logic anathema?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Just looking at the picture makes me sick!

Thinking about what he wanted to say (in unpublished words) makes it even worse!

Little to no testing is the keyword, not (just) that "manners stuff" (which he doesn't know too much about anyways).

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Going by Aso's warped thinking, the continent of Africa has low death rate thus higher societal manner than Europe and the U.S and even Asia.

Why wouldn't it?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

World Health Organization Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus hailed the result of Japan's efforts in tackling the virus spread as a "success" after the lifting of the emergency declaration.

Well obviously then Japan is paying WHO officials.DWS

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I want to see official independent monthly fatality rates from previous years. Where can they be found ?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Foot-in-mouth disease seems to be endemic among Japan's LDP politicians.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Wheres his Abe mask?

Bigger question wheres mine....

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Japan’s low “reported” death numbers is due to Japan’s severe restrictions on testing where only a very minor percentage of people are qualified.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

"daito hak",

sorry, but maybe there is different information concerning the health topic on different pages:

https://ceoworld.biz/2019/08/05/revealed-countries-with-the-best-health-care-systems-2019/ (Germany 17 world wide)

or here:

https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/best-healthcare-in-the-world/ (Germany 25 world wide).

Guess it all depends on how you look at things!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I want to see official independent monthly fatality rates from previous years. Where can they be found ?

Also, I highly doubt one can guess the death reason if not testing. Just put it old age, because being old is a high factor for virus being deadly.

So far, no scientific study to prove anything special about Japanese.

Especially Tokyo where in some shops, restaurants, it is super tight.

In restaurants and bars, no one can wear a mask obvioulsy (for customers) so scie tifically, spread of virus shall be similar with about the same contamination rate.

On the opposite, I believe "young persons" shall be less affected with symptoms because healthier on average.

But coronavirus kills old people. And there are so many.

Above is just the start of scientific reasoning based on known facts by now, not political absurdities.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Going by Aso's warped thinking, the continent of Africa has low death rate thus higher societal manner than Europe and the U.S and even Asia.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

and don't forget love hotels nationwide do they practice distance in those rooms now? LOL

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"The United States imposed fines on people who broke lockdown rules, and France did so too. But we didn't have to do such a thing, and we made it only by requesting" that people suspend nonessential businesses and stay at home, Aso said. "We should be very proud of this."

Except Pachinko and others who refused and made you look absolutely laughable, like a kid who buys alcohol from a vending machine and just shrugs if you pull the "This will look bad on your family! I hope you keep that in mind! Your punishment will be my ill thoughts of you!" nonsense.

"I have received phone calls (from overseas) asking 'Do you have any drug that only you guys have?' My answer is the level of social manners is different, and then they fall silent,"

Because they are dumbstruck by your bigotry and that you are still a leader.

Ipanema Beach: "In my home Germany, the healthiest in Europe, hygiene standards are pitiful compared to Japan and even South Korea but not as much."

BS. And if SK is not as hygienic, why has Aso claimed they are superior to Japanese? because if he says the death rate is corollary to the height of social etiquette, then again, SK and Taiwan, among other nations, are superior to Japan. What's more, perhaps your hygiene at home was poor, but that doesn't mean it is superior here at all. I see people here FAR more than back home use the toilet and walk out the door without even PRETENDING to wash their hands. Hell, most men's rooms don't even have soap. And I hope you don't mind urine scoring the bottom of your foot wear if you use a urinal here, and don't mind people picking their noses like they're digging for gold on the trains.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

No,it is because a lot of cases have fallen between the gaps without being counted. Aso must know this.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Latest data on births and deaths in Japan. Apparently up to March 2020, death rates is lower than last year. Just need to wait for the data for following months.

(FYI, over 1.3 million deaths last year & average 3500/day. For those on cautious side, makes you wonder how many elderly deaths are counted as just pneumonia & not tested.)

https://www.mhlw.go.jp/toukei/saikin/hw/jinkou/geppo/s2020/dl/202003.pdf

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yet the trains are crowded and I’ve seen Japanese people wear masks. So they are not practicing social distance anywhere.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I guarantee you that if you interviewed 1000 people on the street all around Japan, the vast majority will agree with him. He is just like those comedians on the late night shows. Maybe Ask was watching this:

https://twitter.com/rumireports/status/1263352830225551360?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1263352830225551360&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fsoranews24.com%2F2020%2F05%2F21%2Fridiculous-japanese-tv-program-says-english-pronunciation-is-to-blame-for-coronavirus-spread%25e3%2580%2590vid%25e3%2580%2591%2F

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Welcome to special sales at the local market. Check out counters were dutifully marked off for social distancing. Elsewhere mobs of shoppers jammed together as they fought for bargains. It was elbow in the face and armpit in your nose. (Glad I wore a mask.). Social distancing is an alien concept here in Japan. The good thing was that everyone wore a mask. So far my wife and I are fine and I got my favorite craft gin at a discount. One more time: Thank goodness for masks.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese wash their hands properly much less frequently than people where I'm from. Ever used a public male restroom here?

Yeah, there was even a survey done for that matter. Only slightly more than 40 percent of those polled use soap to wash their hands. All this disinformation in Japanese and foreign media about Japanese hygiene is non sense. It has no ground in reality.

https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000017.000014710.html

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Tokyo reported 28 new cases of infection on Thursdsay.

They're the ones where the people have been tested. For every one of those who knows how many are walking around with it, displaying no symptoms?

And what's up with all the parents wearing masks and their kids mask-free? What, kids are immune?

Where's the logic?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Aso takes his talking points straight out of 日本人論。

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@klausdorth

The links you provided is actually a different metric which is healthcare. So you didn't read properly my post. But anyway, the links you provided also dispute the statement made by Ipanema Beach which was that Germany is the healthiest country in Europe. So what's your point? My point was that he is saying something flat wrong and I provided a link to prove that. Your links prove even further that from whatever side you take it, Germany is not the healthiest country in Europe.

Note: The Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index is "based on based on variables including life expectancy while imposing penalties on risks such as tobacco use and obesity. It also takes into consideration environmental factors including access to clean water and sanitation."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso said Thursday that Japan's relatively low mortality rate from the new coronavirus reflects the country's higher "level of social manners."

Or could it be since Japan didn't test 90% of the country so they don't really know who's go the C19 virus, or who's had it.

And for the people that have passed way, have they been tested? if Japan had tested people as well as Europe and the US has, these squeaky clean figure would show a whole bunch of different figures.

I feel that the true numbers have been gently manipulated.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Mr Aso is referring to "mortality rate", not to "infection rate". Therefore he might be right. I'm sure there are other factors contributing to a low mortality rate in Japan. However, he's not speaking about those.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Differences in cultural etiquette are probably part of the explanation for the lower mortality rate in Asia, but I think there is more to the explanation than just that. I do not have the answer, but time will tell, one hopes.

Here in the States we have one part of the political spectrum denying that the pandemic is real, which is certainly part of our problem, but which does not explain why the mortality rates are also so much higher in the European countries.

I am just spit-balling here, but is it possible that there is something in the Asian genome that makes the virus less deadly there?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think it's more likely diet.

I was trying to correct this, but accidentally posted. I meant to say I suspect it's diet. I don't have enough data to be able to make a statement on likelihood.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I made a point of thanking the revered member of our retired community who hawked up a good old-fashioned courtesy bolus of phlegm on the pavement outside my apartment this morning. He's in his 70s, you see, and of pure blood, so I have much to learn from his wisdom.

Maybe talking out of only one side of your mouth like Aso does has some kind of epidemiological effect?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Even if it were true I still want Aso to sit down and shut up because his mouth alone is like poison on the truth. That said, Japanese are not the only ones who bow, don't hug or kiss and generally don't cough on your face.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is dog-whistle Nihonjinron from a smug man.

There are likely to be aspects of Japanese and Asian behaviour in general that have thwarted the spread of Covid-19, but let's rely on virologists and the like to tell us about them based on their studies and knowledge. The Japanese diet, especially old people's, is famously healthy for including lots of seafood, but comes at the expense of consuming a large chunk of the overfished global supply.

At least he's not claiming a government victory here, that it was the government response that saved the country.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I agree with him to an extent, hygiene in Japan is far and away superior than in the West. In my home Germany, the healthiest in Europe, hygiene standards are pitiful compared to Japan and even South Korea but not as much.

Again look at the link I provided, this is not true. By the way the toilets in the station close to where I live has no soap. The toilets in the station close to where I work has no soap. I went to Tokyo station a few days ago and no soap in the toilets I used. So give me a break.

And Germany the healthiest in Europe. Really? According to the  Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, Spain is the healthiest county in Europe and in the world. It is followed by Italy, Iceland and Japan. Germany ranked 23. Ranking better than Germany in Europe are Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, France, Finland, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Cyprus and Portugal. So before you say something you better come up with figures to back it up. Thanks.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/onweb/spain-tops-italy-as-world-s-healthiest-nation-while-u-s-slips

I'm not surprised that the virus has collapsed Mediterranean and Western Europe, and the Americas have failed in every single category. It doesn't take much critical thought to see the catastrophic health and hygiene problems of these countries.

Again, you are making a judgement out of a wrong representation of the reality.

lack of common sense was the cause of the disaster in the West. Not so in Japan.

Well you do have a short memory. Japan is the county which until the Olympics were cancelled pretended that nothing was happening. This is the country which has decided to do very few tests although all experts in and outside Japan agree that's not the way to do it. Like a Japanese virologist said a few days ago, luck is a better explanation than anything else.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Amazing how this muppet at his age is still in a position of public power.

Maybe the real answer at his non sense comment is the very low tests that his country did and still do to avoid the real numbers.

What a racist joke is this man.

Yes, but the sad thing is, the masses in Japan will see and hear his words and accept his spin as facts. Sadly, the Japanese don’t question their government as much as westerners do, so for these old dudes it’s easy to get the people to follow you and believe your words and not question it. But to the rest of us, we know we smell a bucket of.....

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Japan's low virus mortality rate reflects social manners: Aso

Yes, regular people in Japan have a very high level of social manners... However, the government in Japan has very low level of social manners...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am just spit-balling here, but is it possible that there is something in the Asian genome that makes the virus less deadly there?

I think it's more likely diet. The American diet is not healthy. When you get into European and Asian countries, there are a lot more people eating closer to the land - ie less steps between themselves and the farmers who create their food. It's less processed food, less sugar, and often less volume. Americans are not physically healthy as a society, obesity is a HUGE problem.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Latest data on births and deaths in Japan. Apparently up to March 2020, death rates is lower than last year. Just need to wait for the data for following months.

(FYI, over 1.3 million deaths last year & average 3500/day. For those on cautious side, makes you wonder how many elderly deaths are counted as just pneumonia & not tested.)

https://www.mhlw.go.jp/toukei/saikin/hw/jinkou/geppo/s2020/dl/202003.pdf

Thanks. But it seems like those are just totals that don't show the cause of death (unless I'm missing something). That's rather unfortunate since numbers alone hold little meaning. Unless we know the cause of death, we don't really know more than we do now. Just a few examples why that is the case.

From the article 'Suicide hotlines busy as coronavirus ravages economy' (here on JapanToday)

National suicides fell 20% year-on-year in April, the first month of the country's soft lockdown, but experts said that was likely due to an internationally recognised phenomenon in which suicides decrease during crises, only to rise afterwards.

Another article called 'Road accidents in Japan fall to record low in April' (on The Mainichi since it's no longer avaiable here)

The number of road accidents was down 11,827, or 36.2 percent, from a year earlier, marking the lowest figure since comparable monthly data became available in 1989, with all of Japan's 47 prefectures seeing reductions, according to the National Police Agency.

> The number of deaths also decreased by 19.9 percent to 213, the lowest figure on record for April, while the number of injuries fell 37.7 percent to 24,587, the agency said.

And the last one called 'COVID-19 outbreak seen bringing quick end to flu season in Japan' (on Japantimes)

In the week ended Feb. 9, reported influenza cases plunged by over 60 percent to 44,737, compared with 129,989 the same week a year ago, according data from the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

All those will have an impact on the number of deaths. Obviously some articles are talking about April, so they might not even apply to the numbers in that document, but what we really need is a breakdown of those numbers.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Never talk abt manners. Train yrself first.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Of course, social etiquette/distancing has an important role to play.

However, as an example and more to the point COVID-19, Novel Coronavirus global variants could be a focal determining factor.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the COVID-19 mortality rate per 100,000 people was 0.72 in Japan, while it was 32.76 in the United States, 43.33 in France, and 59.88 in the United Kingdom as of Wednesday. The rate was relatively low in Asia, with China at 0.33 and Thailand at 0.08.

This is disinformation and you should be ashamed of that. Last month, the Pasteur institute in France issued a study where it evaluated the virus mortality rate in the country at 0.7%. So just stop throwing around meaningless numbers for the sake of the Japanese propaganda.

On top of that, using a similar argument expressed in this article, I could tell you that pretty much all Africa is doing better than Japan. So we should all praise the higher "level of social manners" there.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Jonathan prin

I want to see official independent monthly fatality rates from previous years. Where can they be found ?

And compare with what ?

When this years data is not available.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's "level of social manners." For sure most of people in Japan have. How about you Mr. Aso?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Aso takes his talking points straight out of 日本人論。

Thats why I will never be a Japanese...)

He speaks for allot of these people. Thats facts; live here long enough and you will see it

They may say they hate him, but depends on what he says, thats all

A cure for all that rioting and other foolishness....send them to Asos Japan.

They be hugging the flag and begging to go home.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Very true.

Of course high mortality could also reflect social manners like in the US

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There are plenty of points that may be the reason of why it happens. As someone said, it may be because of genetics, but on my personal opinion is the type of food that the Japanese eats that is the main point about low mortality rate.

In addition to that, such social manners like wearing masks, talk soft inside of train, and so on also help the situation become better.

Now, I read some comments about it her mentioning racism and to be sincere I didn't get why his statement is considered racist.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

William77

Amazing how this muppet at his age is still in a position of public power.

Maybe the real answer at his non sense comment

If you do follow Japanese TV, what Aso is saying is what almost every expert is saying, it is a shame a nationalist twist has been given for the low numbers and how such a feat can only be achieved by the Japanese without a lockdown and fines. Well the kool-aid is for domestic consumption and the populace is sure enjoying and feeling good about how they are special while a select few are having a laugh counting their loot.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

daito_hak

Yeah, there was even a survey done for that matter. Only slightly more than 40 percent of those polled use soap to wash their hands.

I would imagine the real number is lower than that, as in response to the question,"Do you wash your hands with soap after using the bathroom?" those that were dishonest in their answer would be much more likely to say 'yes', than 'no'.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Taro Aso is a prime example of an useful idiot for both China and the US. We can easily know whatever moves of Japanese leadership through this guy flapping his mouth.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Bunch of westerners on here who can’t fathom that another culture may have done something that turned out better than their plans?

It is pretty apparent that Japanese are different and that may have helped them THIS time.

Being awkwards and non sociable doesnt always help Japanese always...at least it did this time around.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Yes, he is right.

The relatively low mortality rate from the new coronavirus is because of high level of social manner.

It also shows the recent cases in Tokyo. The half number of cases are likely to be related to night clubs.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Much lower rates of obesity and diabetes, crowded trains are not as dangerous as people are making out. Passengers refrain from talking and wear masks. Japanese hardly ever talk with strangers ... and almost everyone is wearing masks, did I mention masks?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As a matter of fact, Japan's hygiene standards are well above the Western "civilised"world, both as individuals and as a society. They never wear shoes inside, take daily baths (washing including the hair), and alcohol disinfectants and masks were common even before the Coronavirus. I can find a free, clean toilet in Tokyo in 30 seconds in average. Compare that with the dirty cities of Western Europe (horrible public toilets, sticky sidewalks). Aso is fully right for a change

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

It is very difficult to say what was the reason behind such low mortality rates without doing a proper scientific study but his idea could be one of many reasons. Perhaps also that when people get sick in Japan and feel they developed covid-19 symptoms they just stay home. In most cases people would just recover. But in other countries when they get sick they panic and go flood the hospitals or maybe most Japanese are healthier and deal better with seasonal diseases.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Was the guy who died of covid on the streets of Aso's Tokyo counted as one of the "seven deaths from the coronavirus for every 1 million residents"?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I agree with him to an extent, hygiene in Japan is far and away superior than in the West. In my home Germany, the healthiest in Europe, hygiene standards are pitiful compared to Japan and even South Korea but not as much.

I'm not surprised that the virus has collapsed Mediterranean and Western Europe, and the Americas have failed in every single category. It doesn't take much critical thought to see the catastrophic health and hygiene problems of these countries.

In the end for most of us expats on this site, our home countries lost badly to this virus and apart from Australia and NZ, no matter how you look at it we did much, much worse than Japan did. Just accept it and look forward to fixing your home countries' health situation. Rampant obesity and diabetes and shocking hygiene and lack of common sense was the cause of the disaster in the West. Not so in Japan.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

I think the poverty level is much higher than a lot of countries, a scientific analysis of the benefits of ¥100 Cup noddles should not be discounted.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The constant posts about low testing on this site are insane. The test positive rate is exactly what the WHO says to shoot for. The fact is that there are few tests conducted because few people meet the criteria because few people are getting seriously ill from Covid-19 in Japan. There have already been reports of low rates of excess deaths in Japan that confirm that the virus has had less of an impact here, not that you conspiracy theorists care about facts.

Anecdotally, for what it's worth, I can confirm the same thing.

My daughter has a disability and I take her to two major university hospitals several times a month. Guess what? People are not dying in the halls. Every day I walk by a funeral home in my neighborhood when getting some fresh air and enjoying the weather. Guess what? The parking lot is not crowded with mourners.

And that's a good thing!

I repeat: people are not dying in droves. Japan must remain vigilant, but the conspiracies need to stop.

Aso may be a dunce, but he's not wrong...

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

Why is Taro Aso hated? I think Japan has done a great job with the virus. I suspect there diets are good and they wear masks. I am impressed. (Why is the USA being rocked so bad with corona?)

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Millions of American citizens are infected with XMRV’s(I don’t know it this is the correct acronym) —they are retroviruses which weaken the immune system. Dr. Judy Mikowitz stayed that they could have gotten it from one of the many contaminated vaccinations that Americans get each year. I am not an expert. I hope someone more qualified can answer this one.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

As much I hate this idiot, I have to agree with him. Japanese, from what I have seen first hand are wearing masks, using alcohol provided at the entrance of every establishment I have visited, telling people to put on a mask in stores, and are taking it upon themselves to avoid large crowds whenever possible.

I and my wife just yesterday went to a large shopping plaza. Everyone, and I say everyone was wearing a mask and using alcohol provided. I did however see two non-Japanese walking around not wearing a mask. I was surprised at the number of people who approached them to make comment. They eventually left the store.

We are down to 1,215 active cases and on a daily decline. The people of Japan have stepped up their game a are doing a great job. Now I wish the J-Gov would do the same.

-8 ( +15 / -23 )

LOL look at all the people that can’t see the point hes making.

What he is saying is true, he is a lot of negative things as well, but I feel bad for peeps so blind.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Headline said "mortality rate" and not case rate. So even with the suspicion of reporting inaccuracies and under-testing we still know that the mortality rate is very low (even lower than reported!) This is a fact.

Aso's opinion is that Japan's unique societal ways have helped keep the deaths down. We know the diet is better here. The public has always worn masks in large numbers. Cleanliness is taught and practiced from a young age. People rarely shake hands or hug. They take their shoes off in homes helping to avoid spread of disease.

Nothing too controversial here.

-9 ( +10 / -19 )

Well you do have a short memory. Japan is the county which until the Olympics were cancelled pretended that nothing was happening. This is the country which has decided to do very few tests although all experts in and outside Japan agree that's not the way to do it. Like a Japanese virologist said a few days ago, luck is a better explanation than anything else.

Japan had to cancel the Olympics therefore what? Every country on Earth cancelled large scale events. A country that didn't would be criminally incompetent. Unfortunately though, widespread incompetence and lack of basic morality and common sense has only happened in Europe and the Americas where incompetence has become what they're known for. The reputation damage will take decades to recover, if ever.

Yeah yeah, luck may explain Japan's incredible performance against the virus.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

East Asian countries as a whole have done far better than europe and the americas.

Japan, korea, taiwan, hk are all far cleaner.

People generally have better hygiene, taking off shoes, oshibori etc.

Face masks are worn universally

And the biggest factor. There are less obese people.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

I dont like old racist Aso but you have to admit he is right

Taking off shoes and masking up 360 days a year...it helps

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

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