COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.

as_the_crow_flies comments

Posted in: Tokyo confirms 143 new coronavirus infections Sunday See in context

Where are the severe cases and deaths associated with the imaginary number of infected? If they are ten times, hundred times more then there has to be a proportionate number of severe cases and deaths. Surely there are a lot of untested, undetected cases out there but don't let your imaginations go too wild

From what the article below says, theres plenty of room to tuck coronavirus deaths into the overall pneumonia deaths, which are the third most common cause of death in Japan. Simply by holding back on testing when someone presents with severe symptoms and then dies untested, they dont need to be counted as coronavirus cases. Convenient. In fact, this puts funeral workers at risk, because hospitals dont notify them of untested bodies. And no conspiracy is necessary either - theres stigma around coronavirus, so institutions and families may prefer that a death just counted as generic pneumonia.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Foreigners given extra 3 months to renew stay due to coronavirus See in context

Serena, for your peace of mind, you could do two things. You could try asking at a main police station (not a small local one) or you could try ringing the immingration bureau to ask, (if you can get through on the phone), so you don't have to go there in person.

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Posted in: 7 Japanese superfoods to boost your immune system See in context

There are some rather angry people out there. And so many people are apparently experts at being experts.

Er no, they're just pointing out that any article with the phrase "boost your immune system" is quack psuedo-science. They're pointing it out now, as the placing of the article at a time where there are so many people anxious and looking to protect themselves, puts them at risk of being scammed. You don't need to be angry or an expert to state that.

Most have also pointed out that all the foods do have some proven health benefits, just no special powers.

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Posted in: Japan testing for coronavirus at fraction of capacity See in context

Then goes on to quote something that has nothing to do with Nihonjinron.

Fair point, @thorogou! Actually should have checked my post before firing it off incomplete. What I meant is that exceptionalism, wherever in the world it rears its head, and Nihonjinron is one example, relies on circular arguments. People start from the idea that "Japan is unique", make an observation e.g. reported numbers of Covid 19 are relatively low in Japan (so far), state that this is because there are few cases, and then trot out a "unique Japan" simplistic assertion along the lines of "it’s the culture" to explain this. Newsflash - Japan is not unique in being unique, and it would help protect us all if right now the government was guided by science, both from within Japan, from other countries and from international bodies.

It is equally possible that the numbers of reported cases are low in Japan because of the restrictive testing regime. And the experience of other countries says that you can have a period of weeks where community spread is gathering pace, with relatively low numbers of serious cases, but then explode. This is why it is premature to assume numbers have peaked in Japan, in the absence of widespread testing to measure this. Conversely, when numbers start to shoot up, it will take weeks to see the results from drastic action to slow the spread of the disease. Health experts predict that the radical measures being carried out in Italy are only likely to start bearing fruit around 38-40 from when they are introduced.

So as part of a comprehensive approach, "test, test, test."

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Posted in: Why Italy? The factors behind a coronavirus disaster See in context

Compare Japan - in public little displays of affection, kissing, hugging, shaking hands, almost no skinship; with Italian warmth and physical familiarity, embracing, kissing, etc.

If this is really a factor, then consider which age group in Japan does has massive warmth and physical familiarity with others: small children with their parents/ grandparents/ professional carers. So we should expect, if they were tested, large numbers of (possibly asymptomatic) Coronavirus positive small children, and a spike in sick adults who have had contact with them. But because of the (non) testing regime, dont expect any hard data to support this idea any time soon.

In the meantime, lets be cautious and not use the past tense to discuss any countrys case: this outbreak is not over, anywhere, any time soon.

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Posted in: Japan testing for coronavirus at fraction of capacity See in context

I always found Nihonjinron frustrating, but I hadn't realised how dangerous it was until I read some of the comments in recent weeks. Seeing some of the magical thinking makes me realise the failings of some countries' education systems (not just Japan, as many posters here are not Japanese). I know logical thinking is in short supply in this country, but the shortness shown by some posters on here is truly gobsmacking. For example:

If they do not test you for Covid-19 you don't have it, you have something else.

Example A: You are asymptomatic, but they don't test you. They don't test you, therefore you don't have Covid 19.

Example B: You are feeling unwell and ask for a test, but they refuse to test you. They refuse to test you, therefore you don't have Covid 19.

If your head is in the sand, it will be dark. This does not mean it is necessarily night time.

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Posted in: No. of coronavirus infections in Japan passes 1,000 See in context

Sorry, its worrying that the Japanese government and bureaucracy are NOT making the most of the extra preparation time we have had.

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Posted in: No. of coronavirus infections in Japan passes 1,000 See in context

Fear mongering much?

No, not fearmongering. It is very worrying that the Japanese government and bureaucracy are making the most of the extra time Japan seems to have had before the outbreak really hits. Even if the fact that people tend to keep their distance more and the widespread use of masks have been a factor - its a pure hypothesis at this point, nobody knows - all that means is that Japan has bought time. The amount of trade and tourism with China and Korea means that it is certain that there is community spread. This is a ticking time bomb, as the US is learning to its cost.

The idiocy, incompetence and self interest of the Japanese government means they are deliberately limiting testing to some sort of "scientific study", meaning we are all their laboratory. Testing in Japan is not aimed at tracing and limiting spread.

Its not a case of if, but when the outbreak hits, and this country is so not prepared for it. Experts (yes they do exist here, but the government is not taking their advice)

Experts say they are being ignored, and there is not discussion in the media of increasing intensive care facilities and providing medical staff with adequate PPE (protective equipment). This is already a desperate shortage in the US, despite the fact that the epidemic has hardly taken off there yet.

If Japan wants to avoid scenes like this (Italy at present_

it needs to change policy radically, immediately.

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Posted in: Olympic 'Flame of Recovery' tour scaled down due to coronavirus worries See in context

Recovery. What recovery?

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Posted in: Confirmed new coronavirus infections in Japan now 1,528, including cruise ship cases See in context

We need people with symptoms to isolate themselves. The test cures no one.

The science-driven answer to that is

Amesh A. Adalja, MD, Professor and Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security whose work is focused on emerging infectious disease, pandemic preparedness, and biosecurity. “Testing capacity has us largely flying blind, not knowing where cases are and hampering response efforts.”

Testing will help understand the virus and possibly stop its spread.

Yes, exactly. Basically we need testing to give real-time accurate information to epidemiogists, who can recommend policy, governments act immediately to slow down the outbreak and give the public clear and timely instructions what to do/not to do, then we all need to follow this and help each other to get through this with the least damage we can.

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Posted in: Japan eyes scaling back crown prince's April ascension rituals See in context

Um, does anyone even care, given everything else that's happening?

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Posted in: Some schools in Japan resume classes after virus-prompted closures See in context

Wow, Japan acts as if it recovered from the pandemic, or as if it never happened.

Exactly. Denial and cover-up is the way it goes here. News reports in the past tense, so everyone faces backwards, and doesn't look at what's up ahead. Very little scientific, evidence-driven information backing policy, allowing all sorts of loons to assert, based on hunches, how Japan is different. Nihonjinron, and all those who let themselves be suckered by it, are really going to get bitten in the bum by reality. Just as it did Donald Trump yesterday.

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Posted in: Doubts growing in Japan over Tokyo Olympics See in context

Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike has said it is "unthinkable" to cancel the Olympics...

So start thinking, Tokyo Governor. Thats what we taxpayers are paying you to do, and keep us safe. If not, just do us all a favour and say nothing.

Logically enough, Tokyo Met is now most likely the epicentre of the Japan outbreak, though Im sure Hokkaido, Osaka and Nagoya are now jockeying for the honour. It would be nice to know, if the Japanese government let up on its lockdown of testing, and followed the recommendation of health experts.

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Posted in: Doubts growing in Japan over Tokyo Olympics See in context

Japan has the capability to build a network of surveillance, using hitech. Anyone from China and South Korea will be tested automatically for temperatures, and history of connection with virus carriers.

@Akie, you are weeks out of touch. This is now a pandemic, meaning the main spread is now community. International travel restrictions are now just one very small part of infection control measures, and they apply to ALL international travel, not from any particular country.

Listen to experts and epidemiologists. What is needed are drastic domestic actions to slow down community spread, and drastic action to strengthen the response of the health services and other essential services like food delivery, cleaning, garbage collection, policing, firefighting, social care, public transport. The Olympics are a ridiculous distraction, fiddling while Rome burns. They need to be cancelled, so we can all focus on reality. Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow. Immediately. Tens of thousands of lives could depend on it.

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Posted in: Japan finds 15 clusters of coronavirus-infected people See in context

The corona virus panic has ... Stopped my parents being able visiting their grandkids ... Caused a unbelievably itchy stress rash ... Not infected one single person I am even remotly linked to. ... Killed no one in my prefecture ... Killed no child or young person in my country ... Killed less people globaly than the flu ... Infected less people than the flu ... Welcome to panic in the 21st century ...

All I can say is, lets just hope you are correct that "its all in the mind", and check back in a couple of weeks when Japan is further along the curve. Exponential growth is a funny thing, as an epidemiologist could tell you. Unfortunately, unlike radiation exposure which can reap its rewards years or decades later, ignorance of a highly infectious and deadly virus is likely to come back to roost in the days or weeks ahead.

And I hope your stress rash is better by now, carpslidy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to advise its citizens to avoid travel to much of Europe See in context

Too late to worry about importing the virus, Abe. And its time to move from should to must. You need to introduce a lockdown to limit community spread.

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Posted in: G7 leaders try to ease tension; vow to coordinate on virus See in context

"..and we see the health professionals (who I think are having the time of their lives) talking about millions of infected and hundreds of thousands of deaths ..."

We may actually be looking at millions of deaths worldwide. Spanish flu had an estimated 50 million.

And no, health professionals are not "having the time of their lives". They're putting them on the line for other people. We are all going to depend on these heroes and heroines to help us get through this, along with all the cleaners, shop workers, delivery people, firefighters, care workers, volunteers, family members and others who will try and keep our societies together.

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Posted in: Japan considers postponing emperor's state visit to Britain See in context

And why is this even news? We have important things to think about now.

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Posted in: Scramble for hospital beds in Nagoya shows coronavirus challenge for aging Japan See in context

The idea above of moving serious Covid 19 cases to other districts will only hold up for a short time. What will really happen is that nationwide, the system will be overwhelmed, as is happening in Italy, and doctors will have to decide who gets intensive care, and who is left to die. Not to mention the high death rate of health workers, who are going to be heavily exposed to the virus. This is what is happening in Iran, Italy, Spain right now, and it is days or weeks up the road for many many other countries who dont take aggressive action to slow down the outbreak. Including, as the WHO says "test, test, test". This is the best way to identify, isolate, protect, allocate resources. Ask an epidemiologist.

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Posted in: Scramble for hospital beds in Nagoya shows coronavirus challenge for aging Japan See in context

Italy, which has Europe's oldest population, is facing growing concerns about the ability of its strained health system to cope with a relentless increase in new cases.

This is not about concerns, its about reality. We had this bullsh"t in 2011 with radiation fears, rather than radiation levels. And its not about some nebulous unattributed feelings. What we need now are clear, scientific, evidence driven opinions from experts.

Also, why are they talking about Koreas experience in the past tense, as if its a done deal? The situation worldwide is fast changing and unknowable.

And as someone with the symptoms of viral infections, and two failed attempts to get tested in the last 4 days, I can confirm that you will be blown off if you try to get tested for coronavirus, and doctors will not tell you to self isolate. And my doctor is actually really thorough and conscientious. He gave me a physical exam, X ray, ultrasound, blood, urine test, and says he thinks I probably have a viral infection, but probably not a coronavirus infection. The doctors surgery has an information sheet about how to apply for coronavirus testing, but I only know that because I happened to see it. The doctor didnt even mention it.

If you go to the doctor and ask about coronavirus, you will just give you fluffy advice. The only lockdown in Japan is a governmental one on the health service, so they can make their numbers look good. If you cant see it, its not happening.

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Posted in: Japan eyes emergency coronavirus legislation as infections rise See in context

the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, a pneumonia-like respiratory disease,

I think the writer of this article has got their information a bit mangled. AFAIK, Covid-19 is the strain of virus, not an illness. So saying there are over 90,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 means that number tested positive for the virus. This includes many who are asymptomatic or only have very mild symptoms. They could however be contagious.

If someone has severe symptoms of Covid-19 infection, they will have viral pneumonia, not "a pneumonia-like disease". If its critical, this will progress to ARDS. I think us lay people would just say they are critically ill with pneumonia and having trouble breathing, though.

It helps to have clear and accurate information. Confusion can add to fear and panic.

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Posted in: Tokyo gov't urges people to refrain from cherry blossom parties in parks See in context

Another pressure on the health system is the large numbers of patients with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer, all of whom are going to be at very high risk of pneumonia from coronavirus.

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Posted in: Tokyo gov't urges people to refrain from cherry blossom parties in parks See in context

Rather than trying to project numbers, it would be a good idea to look at the factors likely to affect the severity of the epidemic in Japan.

So in its favour, Japan is an advanced economy with good infrastructure, an effective health system and a large, well resourced professional army. It also has a traditionally docile, law-abiding population. All of these things put Japan in a much stronger position to handle a disease outbreak than many countries.

On the other hand, considering that over a quarter of Japans population is over 65, and a lot of the over 80s are in care homes, they are going to be very vulnerable. As was seen on the Diamond Princess, a concentrated elderly population with underlying health issues, such as in care homes and hospitals, will be even more impacted by care/health staff being off sick at the peak of an epidemic.

The other discouraging sign is the government response. It said Japan didnt have the facilities to quarantine the Diamond Princess passengers on land. If they cant cope with a couple of thousand, how will they cope with millions if needed at the peak of an epidemic? Add to this the fact that there seems to be a reluctance to test and get a clear picture of the real numbers of infections. There also seems to be a lack of transparency about preparations, and thinking through how peoples lives may be impacted (just like back in 2011 with the triple meltdowns). To me that looks like trying to talk down the epidemic. Japan also has low food self sufficiency, and relies on imported energy. All these things make the country more vulnerable.

I would have more faith in a government that is talking about a worst case scenario of millions infected during the peak period of the epidemic, as Australia, population 25.5m-ish, is doing. Talking about it suggests that a government is thinking realistically about the implications of that, and is trying to prepare to keep that society going through the worst of an epidemic. It also takes into account that a country whose health system gets overwhelmed by numbers of people infected at one time is going to see the mortality rate sky rocket. Which is why we should all be doing everything we can to try and stay healthy.

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Posted in: Stunning blow for Johnson as court strikes down parliament suspension See in context

This shot of the clown from 2012 really sums it up

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Posted in: Stunning blow for Johnson as court strikes down parliament suspension See in context

Heres hoping Alex "Boris" Johnson sets a record for shortest serving UK Prime Minister, shuffles off and lets the grown ups try and sort out the mess he and his buddy Dom Cumming have made in the sandpit. Hopefully the grownups can get an extension, so they can sit down and discuss the terms of the Brexit they want in detail, giving an orderly process that will allow everyone to properly prepare for this. If there has to be an act of self harm, at least do it responsibly.

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Posted in: 'Forgive me,' ex-Peru leader Fujimori says after pardon protests See in context

Well, he was an asesino, presiding over a government that committed mass extra-judicial murder.  In 2003, Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimated that 69,280 people were killed in those two decades. Although some dispute this figure, it is huge compared to the numbers killed in Argentina's 'dirty war' and under Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile.

This is why the protests are so huge. Add to that the corruption, with the $600m plundered from state coffers is also no small matter.

But whatever the back story on his release now, I agree that it is better to release him now and let him fade away on the outside, rather than risk him becoming a martyr to the Fujimori dynasty 'cause'. Maybe it'll drive a wedge between his children Keiko and Kenji, and that can only be good for Peru. Word is that actually Keiko would prefer Dad inside, because that would suit her political ambitions, while Kenji cut the deal with the President to spring Dad. The prospect of Keiko getting into power is appalling, and threatens to undo all the progress made since Dad legged it with suitcases stuffed with cash and Vladivideos to blackmail his enemies with, before faxing in his resignation from Brunei. Unfortunate for President PKK that the timing is so bad.

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Posted in: Which do you think is Japan's most attractive city? See in context

Agree with GW, 'attractive' doesn't naturally spring to mind when I think of Japanese cities. Though I live in Yokohama and think it does better than many. If any are attractive, it's usually down to the location, and despite what the city has managed to do to ravage the landscape. There are attractive pockets all over the place, but overall, none really float my boat much.

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Posted in: Fukushima mothers measure radiation levels in food, water and soil See in context

I'd be interested to see some comparative readings from the government and this group. That would be very informative. If they are similar great, and if they are different, good, too, because at least there is a scientific basis for action.

the “invisible enemy” of radiation has continued to worry the mothers. All we knew was that it is frightening,” said Suzuki. This is an important process and is especially reassuring to the parents of young children. This idea that it’s safe and that we shouldn’t be anxious doesn’t really add up. “My parents think I’m a bit paranoid."

The language of articles like this always frame the issue as if the problem is worry, rather than radiation levels. It's a way of framing the discussion to insinuate that anyone who states there is a health risk is emoting. Really annoying. So all power to the mothers and those who supported them to get this lab up and running to reframe the debate in terms of getting reliable scientific data about radiation levels. Knowledge is power. And much more analysis should be going on about why there is so much scepticism of the reliability of government data. For example, as stated above, by comparing.

Oh, and hello Zichi, if you're out there! Good to see a post from you. You've been missed!

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Posted in: Trump still sees himself as leading an insurgency See in context

"We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard"

Issuing decrees on day 1, eh? Is that the royal "We" or the dictatorial "we", Don? America First is it? So you're saying you'll be disinvesting in every offshore venture you're in, as of today, right? American jobs for American, right? And this People's Movement, that's the billionaire people's movement, I take it?

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Posted in: Health diets from overseas flooding Japan, but are they right for Japanese bodies? See in context

What is "Japanese Body" ??

For that matter, and what is "European body"?

Kuchi gomi indeed.

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