Confusius comments

Posted in: Tokyo reports 185 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 614 See in context

Do you know how many test was conducted in the UK and how many in Japan ? It is nice to know.

Japan - UK

10/14: 25,495 - 295,690

10/15: 23,934 - 304,315

10/16: 23,031 - 312,178

10/17: 18,934 - 308,416

10/18: 8,871 - 306,893

10/19: 17,557 - 260,338

10/20: 17,934 - 279,996

As you can see the UK only tests slightly more than Japan. ;)

While more tests would give a more accurate picture of the situation in Japan, it does not necessarily mean that it would hit numbers like the UK. We also don't know how many people without symptoms are among those tested positive for either country for example (I wish every country would also report the severity of each case...). So I hope people keep such things in mind and that comparing countries just by their numbers isn't that easy. If all 614 cases in Japan had symptoms for example but only about 1,000 out of the 26,688 cases in the UK, then the UK would still do worse but not as the numbers would suggest. Of course that goes both ways and makes comparisons difficult without more detailed data.

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Posted in: Tokyo reports 78 new coronavirus cases See in context

The total number of deaths in Japan, from January to July, are less than for the same period last year.

Unfortunately that doesn't mean anything at all. The same goes for other countries and shows that any claims that a decrease in overall death shows something is moot. Germany saw in the same period this year less death than in 2017, 2018 and 2019. So while the claim comes up every now and then on here, just because there were less death than the year before doesn't mean anything. I've actually illustrated that before with data from a few countries. People from both sides can make claims all day long but in reality those are just assumptions made largely based on people's views as we have seen here multiple times.

May's breakdown by cause of death shows that up until that month, the greatest drop was seen in patients dying of respiratory illnesses, at 9,066 fewer deaths. Among them, influenza deaths had fallen by 2,270 people, and pneumonia by 5,863.

Yes, I would expect that considering influenza cases were low at the start of the year and steadily going down reaching less than 40% in early February per week. So instead of almost 130k new cases per week in early February last year there were about 45k. As far as I know that also holds true for the time after February (probably to a smaller extent though) and explains why the numbers are lower.

One Japan isn't hiding deaths as some have claimed or putting corona deaths down to influenza.

Some may have claimed that, sure. I merely question the accuracy of the official numbers. Tokyo had an excess of people that died from flu-like ilnesses under such circumstances starting in February for example (excess of 50-60 per week for 5 weeks starting mid February; numbers taken from a news article from May on The Nikkei so numbers for later dates were not available).

Unlike the overall drop in deaths can be explained in some way, there is no explanation why the numbers for Tokyo went up starting mid February under such circumstances though (for a time frame of five weeks at least). Considering that the seasonal flu has an estimated mortality rate of 0.1%, a big increase in cases in Tokyo would have been necessary. When usually 1 in 1000 cases lead to a death you would expect around 50-60k additional cases per week in Tokyo. In face of a lack of such an increase, I think it is absolutely fine to question Japan's official numbers. No, that does not mean that people should come up with some conspiracy theories but there are valid reasons for people to be to not believe them.

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Posted in: European nations revive curfews, lockdowns amid growth in virus See in context

With new cases hitting about 100,000 daily, Europe has by a wide margin overtaken the United States, where more than 51,000 COVID-19 infections are reported on average every day.

So much for testing as the key to containing the virus.

You do realize that they are talking about Europe with a population of about 746 million and not the European Union with about 447 million people? In Europe and within the EU you will find different apporaches and policies in most countries. The daily life in France is different from the daily life in Portugal which again is different from the daily life in Finland and so on. Some places will do better and some will do worse. You rarely hear how many places outside the EU approach the pandemic though, so that is important to keep in mind. How often do you read an article on the policies in places like Monaco or Liechtenstein? Just adding them all together will also do injustice to some while it makes other look slightly better. Yes, that is probably also the case in the US where there will be differences among the states and their policies. Some places will do far better than the average while others will do far worse.

When you look at the figures from October 14th, the US had 52,517 new cases while the had EU 64,754. This translates to about 0.160 new cases per 1000 people in the US vs . 0.145/1000 in the EU. The four countries with the most new cases in the EU, the Czech Republic (8,326), France (12,993), the Netherlands (7,368) and Spain (7,118) made up 55.3% off all the cases while they only make up 31.6% of the population.

Going by the numbers mentioned in the article, they are probably working with the numbers from October 7th to 12th though. If you take other dates the numbers won't add up. The average per day would mean about 50,665.7 cases per day for the US (0.154/1000), 68,394.7 in the EU (0.153/1000) and 103,932.8 in Europe (0.139/1000). Why they only chose a period of 6 days I do not know. The time frame coincides with a rise in cases in Europe and the EU and stops before the 13th where both Europe and the EU saw a drop in cases. If you were to add either the 6th or the 13th for a whole week, all three (US, EU and Europe) would see a drop of the average. In the EU for example that would mean an average of 65,650.4(0.147/1000) in case of the 6th or 65,768.2(= 0.147/1000) if you add the 13th in comparison to the 68,394.7 cases from the 6-day time frame. The Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands and Spain together sat at 0.283/1000 daily cases in that 6-day timeframe and made up 58.5% of the cases in the EU. In the rest of the EU with about 306 million people there were 170,437 registered cases in the same time frame, which translates to 0.093/1000 cases per day. This shows how it is important to look at the single countries or states and not group them together. Just by excluding the four biggest offenders I made some of the other countries look far better that also have an average above 0.093/1000. If numbers in France go up we have to look at what France is doing and what is going wrong. The same goes obviously for every country. But it does not mean that other countries that have done well and kept the numbers down are suddenly doing worse just because they are part of Europe and the numbers in Europe are considerably rising.

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Posted in: 1,805 suicides reported in Japan in September See in context

I don’t think people are saying that.

Are you sure? A highly upvoted comment says something along the lines.

That's even more in just a month than the reported death by the COVID in Japan (so far 1631, probably underestimated but anyway...). Just think about it. This actually illustrates so well that over-reacting to a threat can produce a worse outcome than the threat itself.

The total number of deaths (including the deaths from influenza and other medical conditions) is lower year-on-year but we still have an increase in the number of suicides during the pandemic. Which comes to show that the increase might have something to do with the continuity of frightening news about the virus in media and social networks.

Actually the deaths from influenza are likely down since there were a lot less cases. In early February it was down by more than 60% compared to the years before in Japan (about 45k new cases per week vs about 129k). Tokyo still had an excess of people that died of flu-like ilnesses (50-60 per week for 5 weeks starting mid February; those numbers are from a news report from May so numbers for later dates were not available). Total numbers unfortunately rarely tell the whole story.

Also, like I said before, suicides were down by 20% early during the pandemic. If the overall number has gone up I don't know. I absolutely think that the pandemic has had an impact, I merely question if it was as big as some people make it out to be. It is quite important to analyze why people decided to commit suicide. I wouldn't be surprised if the pandemit was in fact the last straw that broke the camel's back in many cases but that also means that there was probably already something amiss. By focusing too much on the pandemic as a cause people seem to lose sight of the many other factors that lead to suicides. Those factors were around before the pandemic started and will still be around once the pandemic is over. So while the numbers will likely fall again the underlying issue will likely still be there.

Obviously everything should be done to keep the number of suicides down as much as possible, but it's not a scenario where only one of the two groups can be saved and we have to choose.

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Posted in: 1,805 suicides reported in Japan in September See in context

It is actually quite amazing (or should I say shocking?) how people are unable to read those numbers. While the virus will without a doubt have an impact on the number of suicides, there would still be suicides even without the virus around. People did commit suicide even when the virus wasn't around, so why would it be the reason for all suicides now? We don't have much data to go with apart from an increase of 143 or 8.6% compared to the year before. Without more information there is no way to say if there would have been a decrease or even an increase in cases. We saw a drop of 20% in April for instance. By the same logic some display here the virus was also the reason less people committed suicide in April then...

The thing is, we don't have any idea how many people exactly did commit suicide because of the pandemic. It could be the 143 more compared to the year before. It could be more and it could be less. We also don't know if and how many people were saved by taking measures (or rather non-measures) to stop the spread. What if in the same time frame 200 or 300 people have been saved by the measures. Would you still think it was a dumb idea then?

The only thing for certain here is that there was an increase in suicides. Discussing why there was an increase and how big the impact of the virus and the measures was is fine. But going on like all suicides are down to the virus and associated measures is, sorry to put it this way, quite dumb.

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Posted in: Japan's cumulative total of coronavirus infections tops 90,000 See in context

Nihonview, you would do well to refer to sources that at least have accurate data. Worldometers is not such a site and many of the numbers there are quite different from the official numbers provided by the different countries. There are better sources like Our World in Data where you will actually find the official numbers but they are not presented in tables.

It's not helping that you keep listing numbers without any context either. There are so many factors in play that make it impossible to really compare Japan to any other country you listed since both testing and tracing policy differ. It is also not helping that Japan's level of testing is on the level of Zambia (0.14/1000 people per day vs Japan's 0.15/1000). Japan is even behind such "wealthy" countries like Rwanda (0.18) or Namibia (0.42).

Of the countries you listed, most let anyone get tested. Japan on the other hand focuses on those that show symptoms. Many of the asymptomatic cases that get tested in other countries and test positive never would get tested in Japan. Most also trace and test in every case that comes up. Only the US and the UK have limited tracing like Japan (although the degree may differ). In Tokyo for example around 50% of the cases have been of an unknown route of infection most of the time.

When other places test 6.9 times (Germany for instance) or more than you do, it's likely that they will find more cases (especially since they trace in every case and even asymptomatic people will get tested). When the numbers of other places are high (people with symptoms + asymptomatic people) while your's are low (mostly symptomatic people), then how do you compare that? I've not had the time to analyze newer numbers (unfortunately most countries release their numbers differently, so it's a pain to compile) but at least from mid August to mid September Japan did far less testing than Germany for instance, had less cases, but more people died on a weekly basis. Just having less cases is not a good way to compare places. The lack of testing early on (granted it is not that much better now) also means that the number of death may be skewed. The Nikkei (https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Tokyo-s-excess-deaths-far-higher-than-COVID-19-count-data-shows) had a report in May on an excess of people that died in Tokyo from flu-like ilnesses of about 50-60 per week for 5 weeks starting from mid February. That's as far as the data reached at that time. In that time frame flu cases were even down by over 60% in Japan (44,737 vs 129,989 in the same week the year before) and had already been falling before for quite some time. So there you have a few hundred more in Tokyo that might have died in relation to COVID-19. But a lack of testing won't tell us if it is a coincidence or not. So if someone were to ask me if Japan is doing just fine or actually worse than it appears, I'd have to say that I don't know. I'll refrain from making any assessment in either direction when it comes to Japan. Japan is doing things her own way and that is fine. But that also means that it's not exactly possible to compare her number to those of other countries. There are quite a few other countries as well that do their own thing (like Russia for instance) and I'd refrain from comparing those to other countries also, so it is not just Japan.

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Posted in: LDP lawmaker apologizes for saying 'women lie' about sexual assaults See in context

The issue with the statement itself is that it comes from Sugita. The article already gave such an example. Calling couples unproductive since they can't bear children (because of their sexual orientation) and therefore are not worth taxpayer investment. Or saying that there were clear errors on Shiori Itō's part since she drank alcohol with that guy. Oh, she apparently also laughed at an illustration with a woman with the likeness of Itō that also read "failure at sleeping around for business". Apparently since it's again something she denies doing.

If any other person said that women lie when it comes to sexual assault, you could give them the benefit of doubt. But a person that repeatedly says such stuff and alwasy ends up apologizing (often because it she was misunderstood and so on) does not deserve this. Considering that it was during a briefing about caring for the victims of violence and sexual violence against women says a lot. She is right that there are some women that lie about sexual assault and rape. Yes, it is important to talk about it. It has a negative effect on both real victims and falsely accused, since it damages the credibility of the former and can destroy the life of the latter. But there is a time and place to talk about it and a briefing where you talk about actual victims is certainly not the right place nor the right time for it...

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Posted in: Nearly 36,000 Japanese firms shut down business due to COVID-19 See in context

The number of companies that discontinued business stood at 35,816 from January through August, up 23.9% from the same period of the previous year, according to the report.

That means that roughly 28,907 businesses did close in the same time frame last year and the number went up by about 6,909. Kind of shocking to read that kind of sensationalism from an article by Reuters. Even if most have named COVID-19 as the reason, I doubt that it was really the reason for every closure when almost 29,000 closed down last year when there was no virus around. That does not mean that the virus did not have a great impact, but to me it is kind of dishonest to attribute it all to the virus. We have no idea to what extent other factors like the tax increase affected those businesses either.

Like SPRING said, it's always (ok there are exeptions) a sad thing when a business has to close down though since people will lose their job. I hope those people will soon find a new one.

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Posted in: Tokyo reports 88 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 331 See in context

Got it, you don't feel like actually providing any arguments for your claims and don't want to talk about anything others have actually contributed to the discussion either. That's fine, but it'd be nice if you would at least stop calling others complainers or armchair analysts just because they disagree with your view.

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Posted in: Tokyo reports 88 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 331 See in context

After 9 months of low deaths, low hospitalization and generally low infringements on freedoms people are still complaining about testing numbers.

Enough already

Mid February to mid March there were an additional 50-60 death per week with flu-like illnesses including pneumonia in Tokyo alone. Shortly before the influenza cases in Japan were down by over 60% and had been falling for some time. And even around that time the flu cases were way down compared to the flu seasons the five years before. You know, more tests would have told us if that has anything to do with the virus. Oh, same with the 1000 extra deaths Tokyo saw in April. Those deaths don't necessarily have anything to do with corona, but without tests you won't know. Also Germany as well as England and Wales had a drop in deaths compared to the years before at times while they registered corona deaths. Low testing means we have no idea how accurate those numbers are. Not tracing every case means that there is always the risk of a preventable spread of the virus somewhere else. When other countries test around 7 times as much per week and see less deaths while discovering more cases, then there is also an issue.

There have been several users like Tobias J Gibson that provide interesting information on many occasions. Many more people have pointed out why testing is important. Heck, even a database that is regularly cited in academic scientific journals says 'Limited testing and challenges in the attribution of the cause of death means that the number of confirmed deaths may not be an accurate count of the true number of deaths from COVID-19.'. It is fine if you think that only barely testing is fine, but instead of labeling others as complainers you could actually join the discussion and argue your point of view.

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Posted in: Tokyo reports 88 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 331 See in context

Japan and Sweden are two shining examples of how adults handle a crisis.

Sweden: 580.74 deaths per million people; its neighbours Norway(49.25), Finland (61.54) and Denmark (110.49)

I don't know, but doesn't seem that great to me. All those countries have far less deaths (Denmark: 640, Finland: 341, Norway: 267) than Sweden (5,865). Denmark and Norway also trace every case, so they are more likely to find people without symptoms. And if those die, they still count. Finland like Sweden only traces some of the cases.

Japan week 33-37: 773,376 tests, 26,771 cases, 395; Germany same timeframe: 5,220,909 tests, 43,189 cases, 153 deaths

So in those 5 weeks Japan did conduct 4,447,533 less, had 16,418 less cases (remember symptoms are a prerequisite for being tested and they only do limited tracing), but saw 242 more deaths. People always say that the variant of corona in Europe is more lethal, yet Japan has had more deaths despite less cases vor weeks? Oh, since there are no final numbers for the number of tests conducted for week 38 I left it out, but Japan saw again more deaths than Germany. Germany unlike Japan traces every case and will find more asymptomatic cases, while Japan does only limited tracing like Finland and Sweden. Since even asymptomatic people that die are counted (people that died in accidants, had heart attacks,...), it makes quite a difference if they hunt down every case or not. Yes, that also means that a person that dies in a road accident that tested positive will be counted, although the probability is so low that it shouldn't be significant (deaths from road accidents have ranged from 159 to 256 per month in Germany this year for example; it is highly unlikely that the majority of those tested positive before their death and their death would impact on the overall picture). Yes, the deaths in most country will also include people that died of other reasons. But even if the virus was not the main cause, it may very well have contributed to their death though. Only research will show what impact the virus had in the end.

In one study they examined the cardiac MRIs of 100 people that had recovered and 78 had cardiovascular involvement irrespective of preexisting conditions. Those weren't all cases with severe symptoms though. 18 had no symptoms and 49 showed minor to mild symptoms. 33 were severely unwell and needed hospitalization and 2 of those underwent mechanical ventilation and another 17 underwent noninvasive ventilation. Of course the study has its limitations but its findings are nontheless interesting.

Outcomes of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients Recently Recovered From Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):

Taken together, we demonstrate cardiac involvement in 78 patients (78%) and ongoing myocardial inflammation in 60 patients (60%) with recent COVID-19 illness, independent of preexisting conditions, severity and overall course of the acute illness, and the time from the original diagnosis. These findings indicate the need for ongoing investigation of the long-term cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19.

Catching people without symptoms is insofar important that they can pass the virus on to others, but the virus may even cause damage to them. There was also an article some time ago that the virus was appartently able to pass the blood–brain barrier.

In the worst case (that the virus actually doesn't cause much damage) more testing will give you data that lets you analyze how a highly infectious would spread, which is already a huge gain.

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Posted in: Number of suicides among Japanese jumps in August See in context

@Antiquesaving

Yet somehow less than 6% of the people that died in France by August 13 were obese (about 21% of the adult population of France can be considered obese). The Agence nationale de santé publique releases a document called Point épidémiologique hebdomadaire with the French numbers concerning corona every now and then including numbers to comorbidities. In all age groups ,apart from those aged 0-14, around 30% of the people that died had no or no known underlying health conditions (15-44: 34%, 45-64: 29%, 65-74: 33%, 75+: 35%). And among those that actually had at least one (7455 cases by August 13) , only 6% (444) were obese (or 3.9% overall). More people that died were actually suffering from diabetes (16%). Almost all other comorbidities were more common (respiratory system: 13%, diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels: 34%, hypertension: 25%, neurological conditions: 9%, renal illnesses: 12%). Immunodeficiency was the only comorbidity that occured less (2%) than obesity. Yes, most likely there were far less without underlying conditions but obesity is not something anyone would miss.

With most western countries have obesity rates nearing and even surpassing 30% that put a lot in the high risk category.

That's weird. When you look at those 18 and over in the EU, no country get's even near the 30% for women. Malta with the highest rate was sitting around 24% in 2014 (newer official numbers will likely be released next year). For men only Malta got near the 30% but was still below it. Most other countries were around 20%. Still higher than Japan but the obesity rates are nowhere near what you are claiming. Even with the numbers from the WHO from 2015, not a single country surpasses the 30%. Sure there the UK reached 28.1% and there are some other countries that got near the mid 20s, but most were sitting around 20 to 24% which is again a far cry from what you claimed. So please instead of saying western countries, name the countries you're talking about and also give the numbers.

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Posted in: Number of suicides among Japanese jumps in August See in context

For the past decade, Japan has seen a drop of number of suicides annually. There is a likelihood it will rise significantly for year 2020, no thanks to the merciless and torturous Covid outbreak and the continual relentless spread...

The thing is that Japan saw a drop of 20% in suicides in April. So we'll actually have to wait and see how it pans out. If we're lucky (obviously 0 suicides would be far better) it is only that people postponed their suicide and the numbers keep falling overall like the years before.

This single month figure easily outnumbers the whole corona-related deaths (1,495 since February of this year).

Outnumbers the registered corona-related deaths. In Tokyo from mid February to mid March there were an excess of 50-60 people that died from flu-like ilnesses (including pneumonia) while the cases of influenza in Japan were down by over 60%. Just like in every other country there are likely missed cases and we don't know to which extent. Like Mr Kipling pointed out there may also have been far more deaths without any actions. It will take quite a while until we'll have a general idea of that though. So we'll have to see if the medicine was actually worse than the virus. Also every unnecessary death is bad. Just because more people die because of another reason, we should not try to avoid other things that lead to people's death.

The only thing we really know is that there have been an extra 246 suicides. There is no way of knowing if the overall number would have gone up anyway or if it would have gone down. if there was no corona around In my opinion it is quite likely that there have been many (or even a lot of) cases where the virus and what accompanied it (businesses closing down, people losing their jobs,...) will ultimately be the reason why people made this choice. We don't know how many of those were already contemplating commiting suicide and would have done so in the end anyway for other reasons. Obviously there will also be cases where people considered it before but would not have done it without corona around. The latter and those that have never even considered commiting suicide before corona are the real problem. If there was no corona, those could still be alive. But we don't know how many those are.

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Posted in: Do you think employers should be required to tell workers when someone in the workplace has tested positive for the coronavirus? See in context

Everybody here, who works in a japanese company knows that a japanese Guy will never stay away home from work for 2 weeks because he or she is sick.

That in itself is an issue though. And it is unfortunately not something I'll ever understand. It's fine if it's just a cold or something else trivial but otherwise people should stay home. Why take the risk to infect other people with wathever you may have? It is especially important at times like we have now. If I have to choose between working some more and getting sick, I'd go with the former and that has nothing to do with corona.

So yes, a company should absolutely tell their employees if someone tested positive. Unfortunately there is already bullying at some work places, like kyushubill pointed out and things could get out of hand. In order to avoid that just don't name the person and make sure everyone is informed, so that appropriate steps can be taken.

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Posted in: Tokyo reports 80 new coronavirus cases See in context

I forgot to add that it was 50 to 60 people per week for 5 weeks starting mid February. That was the data available to the newspaper that published that article. So we don't know what the numbers were like after those 5 weeks.

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Posted in: Tokyo reports 80 new coronavirus cases See in context

In terms of other communicable diseases generally, and respiratory diseases specifically, there is strong reason to believe they have been suppressed this year by the increased efforts regarding covid-19.

Well we do at least know that there have been a lot less influenza cases this year compared to the last few years. Compared to the last year it was down by about 60% in early February (around 45k instead of around 129k in one certain week and already falling before that week). So overall the number of people that have died due to the flu should have gone down compared to the years before. Although Tokyo was still able to to pull an excess 50 to 60 people out of a hat that died due to a flue-like illness including pneumonia. I actually wrote about it more in detail the other day under the daily corona article (https://japantoday.com/category/national/tokyo-reports-146-new-coronavirus-cases) with the links to those articles.

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Posted in: Tokyo reports 146 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 436 See in context

If we know the reason for the fluctuation the number of tests itself could indicate whether the situation is worsening or improving

You are right, that is also absolutely possible. As an outsider with no idea what strategy exactly they are pursuing, it's impossible to tell.

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Posted in: Tokyo reports 146 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 436 See in context

The number of new cases has dropped in the last few weeks in Japan, but so has the number of tests. At the same time the amount of deaths went up from week 33 to 35 (52, 82, 98). If the decrease in new cases is down to a decrease in actual cases or the decrease in testing is impossible to tell though. In comparison to this Germany has steadily increased its testing and conducted as many tests as 1101299 in week 35 (up from 891988 in week 33 and 1055662 in week 34). Despite increased testing the number of new cases started going down on week 35 (and seem even lower in week 36) which is actually an example of a positive development. Just to illustrate but that is 7.18 times the testing Japan did during the same week (153329). And the two weeks before were only slightly better (33: 6.09 times; 34: 6.34 times). I’ve not checked the weeks before but in the weeks 33 to 35 Germany also saw less deaths than Japan did (33: 17 less; 34: 44 less; 35: 72 less). It remains to be seen how those numbers develop in the future though.

I’m sure everyone also remembers the reports when people in their 20s and 30s contributed about 70% of the new cases in Tokyo. People aged 15 to 64 make up around 68% of Tokyo’s population. Before they shifted their focus on people working in certain industries (who are likely in their 20s and 30s) in June, they contributed to about 31-33% of the cases in March to May. While they conducted about 19k more tests in June than in May, the number of new cases in the higher age range dropped while those in the 20s and 30s increased. It is probably just a coincidence but it may also be down to their focus on a certain group of people. It is insofar interesting that in Germany, England and Wales, as well as France those aged 70+ contribute about 85% of the deaths. Hopefully it is not the case but the shift may explain why the number of deaths in Tokyo dropped from 105 in April and 185 in May suddenly to 20 in June and 7 in July.

As people have already assumed, the days with the least tests are Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday they conduct about 10% of the weekly tests, while on Sunday it’s around 3%. During the week the percentage per day is far closer but Monday seems to be the day with most tests per day ( around 19%).

A little extra concerning comorbidities: The Agence nationale de santé publique from France published some interesting numbers on July 23. Among those aged 15 to 44 34% had no or no known underlying conditions. The percentage is similar for the other age groups: 45-64 29%, 65-74 33%, 75+ 35%

The underlying conditions were: obesity (6%), diabetes (16%), respiratory system (13%), heart (34%), high blood pressure ( 25%), neurological (9%), kidneys (12%), immunodeficiency (2%)

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Posted in: Tokyo reports 146 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 436 See in context

Even comparing the number of deaths in a certain time frame with the same time frame of the years before will not tell us anything and will not even serve as a good indicator. The Japan Times reported that in April Tokyo saw an excess of 1000 deaths for example.

Tokyo deaths up by 1,000 in April from monthly average as virus peaked (Jun 11 - https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/06/11/national/death-toll-coronavirus/ ).

Tokyo saw more deaths than usual in April, the month when coronavirus cases in the city peaked.

The hardest-hit city in the country, Tokyo saw 10,107 deaths from all causes in the month, according to data released Thursday by the Metropolitan Government. That’s almost 12 percent higher than the average of the previous four years for which data are available, and 7 percent higher than the same month in 2019.

The city officially reported just over 100 deaths from the coronavirus in April. The mortality data suggests there were around 1,000 more deaths in the month than average, though Tokyo has a growing population that increased by 0.6 percent, or 80,000 people, from last year to surpass 14 million for the first time. Deaths also increased in 2019 from the previous year by 6 percent.

In the very same time frame Japan saw a drop in suicide cases by 20% as Reuters reported.

Calm before the storm for Japan suicides as coronavirus ravages economy (May 29 - https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-japan-suicides/calm-before-the-storm-for-japan-suicides-as-coronavirus-ravages-economy-idUSKBN2350BE )

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.

And it was not just the number of suicides that fell. There were also less people that died due to road accidents as Japan Today reported.

Road accidents in Japan fall to record low in April (May 16, has since expired)

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.

While it is impossible to say if Tokyo saw less suicides or road fatalities, it shows that at least some of the other causes of death dropped in Japan overall and there has not been a sharp increase that could tell us where those extra 1000 deaths came from. Like those deaths related to flu-like illnesses it is not possible to say if COVID-19 is responsible for some of that excess. Only testing would have given a clearer picture. In fact the official numbers from Germany (from the Statistisches Bundesamt and the Robert Koch-Institut) and the UK(England and Wales to be more precise; data from the Office for National Statistics) show that just comparing the numbers of deaths will not tell you anything.

Germany registered its first corona death in March. There were 583 COVID-19 deaths. Compared to the average of the four years before the number of deaths was lower by 2974 though. In April it was the opposite and there was an excess of 6977 deaths. Despite all the testing there were only 5705 corona deaths though. So there was an increase in deaths that may have nothing to do with corona. In May the number of deaths was again lower than the average of the years before (367 less) while there were 2212 corona deaths.

In England and Wales there were an excess of deaths in the early weeks following a week with less deaths despite corona. For 6 weeks those numbers were higher than the corona deaths. Afterwards was a small period where there was an excess of deaths that exceeded the number of corona deaths during that time, followed by a few weeks where there were less deaths than the years before while there were still hundreds of corona deaths.

This shows quite clearly why testing is needed for accurate numbers. Even with the numbers we have only assumptions can be made. It does not help that Japan only does limited tracing either (according to Our World in Data; a platform that is also cited in academic scientific journals and uses official data) unlike other countries. How limited it is, I do not know though since there is no further information. Therefore this point may be moot or actually mean a lot.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 146 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 436 See in context

I actually want to apologize beforehand that I'll be posting a few longer comments in succession, but I figured this stuff may be interesting to some and the comment won't appear if it's too long...

While falling numbers seem great, they are not a reason to rejoice if they are accompanied by falling test numbers. This way we will not know if it is down to the lower rate of testing or there actually being less cases. In the same way growing numbers are not a reason to panic if there are more tests. Unfortunately the weekly number of tests has been going down the last few weeks. In fact last week is back to the levels of late July. And since the number of tests fluctuates so much, it is hard to get a clear picture if the situation is actually improving or worsening.

Alas we’re past the point where we could get a clear picture on how Japan has fared so far. I really wish that there was a satisfactory level of testing that was kept constant. In fact the testing or rather the lack thereof makes comparisons to other countries rather difficult and raises questions than it answers at the same time. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be a follow-up on this article on The Nikkei

Tokyo's excess deaths far higher than COVID-19 count, data shows (May 25 - https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Tokyo-s-excess-deaths-far-higher-than-COVID-19-count-data-shows )

The Japanese capital may have suffered more than 200 excess fatalities from pneumonia and other causes early in the outbreak, possibly dwarfing the period's official coronavirus death count of 16.

Even more deaths could have been undercounted in April, whose numbers will not come out until next month.

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases tracks fatalities from flu-like illnesses by collecting data from public health departments around the country. The tallies include those who died from pneumonia.

Excess fatalities are calculated by comparing these figures against baselines derived from past data.

The newest numbers show 50 to 60 excess deaths a week for the five weeks starting Feb. 17, adding up to hundreds more fatalities than usual.

If we are to believe that report, an additional 250 to 300 people died from flu-like illnesses including pneumonia in Tokyo alone during those 5 weeks. But this is not actually down to an increase in flu cases. Quite the contrary the as this article on The Japan Times showed.

COVID-19 outbreak seen bringing quick end to flu season in Japan (Feb 21- https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/02/21/national/influenza-wave-drastically-wanes-japan-amid-spread-coronavirus/ )

The flu season appears to be waning significantly faster than last year thanks to public fear of the deadly new coronavirus, government data shows.

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.

That means flu cases have fallen for six consecutive weeks since the new year began, the data show.

So the amount of flu cases has continuously fallen in the time leading up to the excess deaths. In fact there have been less influenza cases compared to the last 5 years as a research letter shows ( https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2764657 ). Of course we can’t say what exactly this means for Tokyo. However unlikely it is possible that other places had such a big drop in cases that even an increase in Tokyo meant a drop in overall cases. But it is just as likely that Tokyo also saw a drop and the excess is even higher.

A lack of testing unfortunately means that we’ll likely never know why there was an excess. This does not mean that all those deaths are down to COVID-19, but it is impossible to say if and to what extent the virus had a hand in play here. It’s absolutely possible that this is all just a coincidence and the coronavirus has nothing to do with those numbers.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 149 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 507 See in context

First of all, thank you JT for providing more information than just the number of new cases.

Falling case numbers accompanied by less testing is not exactly a reason to rejoice, nor are rising numbers a reason to panic if more tests are being conducted. Unfortunately there was little testing once again. Since the number of tests fluctuates so much, it is hard to get a clear picture if the situation is actually improving or worsening.

We’re past the point where we could get a clear picture on how Japan has fared so far especially compared to other countries, since only a satisfactory and contant level of testing makes that possible.

In fact the testing or the lack thereof leads to more questions than it answers. When we look for instance at what The Nikkei reported (May 25, 2020 - Tokyo's excess deaths far higher than COVID-19 count, data shows)

The Japanese capital may have suffered more than 200 excess fatalities from pneumonia and other causes early in the outbreak, possibly dwarfing the period's official coronavirus death count of 16.

Even more deaths could have been undercounted in April, whose numbers will not come out until next month.

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases tracks fatalities from flu-like illnesses by collecting data from public health departments around the country. The tallies include those who died from pneumonia.

Excess fatalities are calculated by comparing these figures against baselines derived from past data.

The newest numbers show 50 to 60 excess deaths a week for the five weeks starting Feb. 17, adding up to hundreds more fatalities than usual.

If we are to believe that report, an additional 250 to 300 people died from flu-like illnesses including pneumonia in Tokyo alone during those 5 weeks. The cause for this could be a higher amount of influenza cases but such a thing didn't happen as The Japan Times reported (Feb 21, 2020 - COVID-19 outbreak seen bringing quick end to flu season in Japan)

The flu season appears to be waning significantly faster than last year thanks to public fear of the deadly new coronavirus, government data shows.

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.

That means flu cases have fallen for six consecutive weeks since the new year began, the data show.

So the amount of flu cases has continuously fallen in the time leading up to the excess deaths. In fact there have been less influenza cases compared to the last 5 years a research letter shows (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2764657). Of course we can’t say what exactly this means for Tokyo. However unlikely it is possible that other places had such a big drop in cases that even an increase in Tokyo meant a drop in overall cases. But it is just as likely that Tokyo also saw a drop and the excess is even higher.

A lack of testing unfortunately means that we’ll likely never know why there was an excess. This does not mean that all those deaths are down to COVID-19, but it is impossible to say if and to what extent the virus had a hand in play here. It’s also possible that this is all just a coincidence.

Even comparing the number of deaths in a certain time frame of this year with the same time frame the years before will not tell us anything and will not even serve as a good indicator. The Japan Times reported that in April Tokyo saw an excess of 1000 deaths (Jun 11, 2020 - Tokyo deaths up by 1,000 in April from monthly average as virus peaked).

Tokyo saw more deaths than usual in April, the month when coronavirus cases in the city peaked.

The hardest-hit city in the country, Tokyo saw 10,107 deaths from all causes in the month, according to data released Thursday by the Metropolitan Government. That’s almost 12 percent higher than the average of the previous four years for which data are available, and 7 percent higher than the same month in 2019.

The city officially reported just over 100 deaths from the coronavirus in April. The mortality data suggests there were around 1,000 more deaths in the month than average, though Tokyo has a growing population that increased by 0.6 percent, or 80,000 people, from last year to surpass 14 million for the first time. Deaths also increased in 2019 from the previous year by 6 percent.

Does that mean that there were actually 1000 more covid deaths in Tokyo? Maybe, maybe not. But it is not like there was just an excess. Reuters reported that the number of suicides actually fell in April by 20% (May 29, 2020 - Calm before the storm for Japan suicides as coronavirus ravages economy)

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.

And it was not just the number of suicides that fell. There were also less people that died due to road accidents as Japan Today reported (May 16, has since expired - Road accidents in Japan fall to record low in April)

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.

It is impossible to say if Tokyo saw less suicides or road fatalities. Why did I cite those articles then even if the numbers? I wanted to show that other causes of death dropped in Japan overall and there has not been a sharp increase that could tell us where those extra 1000 deaths came from. Like those deaths related to flu-like illnesses it is not possible to say if COVID-19 is responsible for (part of) that excess. Only testing would have given a clearer picture. In fact the official numbers from Germany (from the Statistisches Bundesamt and the Robert Koch-Institut) and the UK(England and Wales to be more precise; data from the Office for National Statistics) show that just comparing the numbers of deaths will not tell you anything.

Germany registered its first corona death in March. Overall there were 583 deaths in connection with corona. Compared to the average of the four years before the number of deaths was lower by 2974. In April it was the opposite and there was an excess of 6977 deaths. Despite all the testing there were only 5705 corona deaths though. So there was an increase in deaths that likely has nothing to do with corona. In May the number of deaths was again lower than the average of the years before (367 less) while there were 2212 corona deaths.

In England and Wales there were an excess of deaths in the early weeks. For 6 weeks those numbers were higher than the corona deaths. Afterwards was a small period where there was an excess of deaths that exceeded the corona deaths during that time frame, followed by a few weeks where there were less deaths than the years before while there were still hundreds of corona deaths.

This illustrates the issue with limited testing. Even with the numbers we have we can only make assumptions. It does not help that Japan only does limited tracking either (according to Our World in Data; a platform that is also cited in academic scientific journals and uses official data) unlike other countries.

The number of new cases has dropped in the last few weeks in Japan, but so has the number of tests. At the same time the amount of deaths went up from week 33 to 35 (52, 82, 98). In comparison to this Germany has steadily increased its testing and conducted as many tests as 1101299 in week 35. That is 7.18 times the testing Japan did during the same time frame (153329). I’ve not checked the weeks before but in the weeks 33 to 35 Germany saw less deaths than Japan by a good margin (33: 17 less; 34: 44 less; 35: 72 less). 

I’m sure everyone also remembers the reports when people in their 20s and 30s contributed about 70% of the new cases in Tokyo. People aged 15 to 64 make up around 68% of Tokyo’s population. Before they shifted their focus on people working in certain industries (who are likely in their 20s and 30s) in June, they contributed to about 31-33% of the cases in March to May. While they conducted about 19k more tests in June than in May, the number of new cases in the higher age range dropped while those in the 20s and 30s increased. It is probably just a coincidence but it may also be down to their focus on a certain group of people. It is insofar interesting that in Germany, England and Wales, as well as France those aged 70+ contribute about 85% of the deaths. Hopefully it is not the case but the shift may explain why the number of deaths in Tokyo dropped from 105 in April and 185 in May suddenly to 20 in June and 7 in July.

As people have already assumed, the days with the least tests are Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday they conduct about 10% of the weekly tests, while on Sunday it’s around 3%. During the week the percentage per day is far closer but Monday seems to be the day with most tests per day ( around 19%).

A little extra concerning comorbidities: The Agence nationale de santé publique from France published some interesting numbers on July 23. Among those aged 15 to 44 34% had no or no known underlying conditions. The percentage is similar for the other age groups: 45-64 29%, 65-74 33%, 75+ 35%

The underlying conditions were: obesity (6%), diabetes (16%), respiratory system (13%), heart (34%), high blood pressure ( 25%), neurological (9%), kidneys (12%), immunodeficiency (2%)

Obviously this means that some of the people with underlying conditions had more than just one.

I still have some more data, but this comment is long enough as is...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports single-day record of 366 new coronavirus infections See in context

But in a disconcerting revelation, Koike said Thursday’s figures do not include results from the targeted testing of a high-risk demographic, unlike with an earlier resurgence from weeks back that stemmed largely from group testing conducted on host club employees in Tokyo’s Kabukicho red-light district — arguably the epicenter of Tokyo infections.

Found this little bit of info on the website of another newspaper from Japan. Did they make that up or did kyodo just forget to include it in their article?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: People are at home, so even managers are more relaxed and therefore more likely to tread on their staff's privacy. In a one-to-one online meeting, there's no one else to see what's going on, making it particularly easy for remote harassment to take place. See in context

I think having some examples of telework harassmnet would have been nice. I've never heard of that until now and had to look elswhere for more information.

Another newspaper fortunately gave some examples. In one case a boss was sexually harassing a female employee after the other people had left the online meeting. There is also another example that would constitute as power harassment. In my opinion there is really no need to call it telework harassment though.

The fact that it happens online doesn't exactly change the kind of harassment they are experiencing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's low virus mortality rate reflects social manners: Aso See in context

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 )

Posted in: Parts of Japan emerge from virus emergency; Tokyo needs fewer than 20 daily infections See in context

This is the real number of tests.

5/6 65

5/7 111

5/8 134

5/9 155

5/10 253

5/11 108

5/12 72

5/13 87

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: The fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is wasting taxpayer money to contain the plague of foreign criticism is indicative of a government that has handled this more as a PR crisis than a pandemic. See in context

Since there is no link here, 緊急経済対策(令和2年度補正予算外務省所管分)【計1,028億円】is the document in question and can be found under https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/files/100042203.pdf

The part interesting for the quote:

我が国の状況や取組に関する情報発信の拡充【24億円】

感染症を巡るネガティブな対日認識を払拭するため,外務本省及び在外公館において,SNS等インターネットを通じ,我が国の状況や取組に係る情報発信を拡充。

A Japanese journalist actually mentioned an article from the Washington Post on all this in a tweet and got called an agitator, liar and more. There were also several people who dismissed everything since it was a foreign newspaper, some claiming that the foreign press is just making it up and more...

Hopefully it's just the nettouyoku again. I stopped counting after about 45 such tweets... Shooting the messenger or dismissing unwanted news is just as bad as believing everything you read.

Are any newspapers in Japan actually reporting on this? I wonder how people would react to such reports then.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: German man drives car into Carnival crowd, injuring 30 See in context

About the "German man", the authorities and media keep stressing that he has a German passport, however that thing is handed out pretty liberally these days.

Yeah, it's really worrying how they have no problem handing out a German passport to every German citizen...Let's see...requirements for naturalization by entitlement:

permanent residence permit

having been an ordinarily resident in Germany for at least the last 8 years (7 years under certain circumstances)

an adequate knowledge of the German language

passed a Citizenship Examination

knowledge of the legal system and the society in Germany

able to support themselves and their dependants without requiring benefits

have not been sentenced for a crime and not subject to any court order

There are actually some more but to me that sounds far from handing that stuff out liberally. Sure, there are also other ways to gain German citizenship but it is quite different from what you claim.

So how about we wait for further information instead of insinuating stuff again? We had that same game in 2018 on here when a German guy drove a car into people in Münster. Something terrible happened and I really see no need for this. There should be more information on the whole incident and the driver's background at some point today so why not wait with this kind of discussion until we have that kind of information?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Gunman kills 9 in German shisha bar rampage See in context

He left behind an online video talking about..

I don't know if it was in the video or on his website but he expressed his negative view of migrants from Arab countries and Turkey somewhere. Said site also gave the impression that he held racist views. And there is also the letter claiming responsibility he left behind. The exact content has not been revealed yet but it also points to a racist motive.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Popular Japanese actress Suzu Hirose subjected to racist coronavirus comments on Instagram See in context

Jonathan Prin, you are probably right and those were just dumb trolls (at least I hope that you are right). Nonetheless no one should be the target of racist comments (even if they just think that they are being funny).

What does being Japanese have to do with anything? Yet many Chinese people are not being defended when they are bashed and rejected over virulent fears.

What Pukey2 wrote sounds about right. It's probably the same you see quite often everywhere. Why even think about it and care when it doesn't affect yourself? Obviously that's not something exclusive to Japan, so I wouldn't be surprised to see similar comments by people from other places in such situations.

sometimes resulting in verbal and even physical attacks.

It's not as simple as people attacking (Asian) people wearing masks (at least not in this case). The person who apparently filmed the whole situation gave an explanation. The woman sat on a narrow stair and was obstructing the guy. This lead to him slandering her (calling her "diseased bitch") and ultimately hitting her on the head once before going his own way. This is where the video starts then. You see her giving chase with a glass bottle raised in one hand seemingly ready to at least throw it at him. This then lead to the guy attacking her. So there is a lot more to the story than just one guy randomly attacking someone for wearing a mask. I do hope that they get the guy though and that he gets punished accordingly.

But why am I writing all this? There is no place for racism (at least there should not be any place for it...). The first time I actually saw the video of said attack on twitter it had been posted by a Japanese guy. He did not give the context (granted that he probably didn't know it himself) and merely told people to be careful. Several Japanese had no issue writing downright racist comments here themselves. They didn't care for the context at all. There were also many comments saying that there is probably more to the whole story. But the only one calling them out for their racism was a foreigner who is currently living in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Amazing cup stirs your drinks for you, needs no batteries or charging See in context

Luckily, it looks like help is on the way, thanks to Japanese design company Gemini’s Aumix mug.

I don't know but the very same cup was on Kickstarter more than a year ago (around November 2018) by a company from Hong Kong (it was called Mixee on there). Funnily enough that campaign got suspended because that cup was already being sold in China.

To me it sounds much more like this company is merely bringing a Chinese product to the Japanese market.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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