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

HBJ comments

Posted in: Tokyo's infection spike after Olympic postponement sparks questions See in context

Abe cited experts as saying a big reason for the recent rise is the growing number of cases that can't be linked and a jump in infections from abroad.

Now, why would there be a growing number of cases that can't be linked? Would it be because government inaction has resulted in the virus spreading so much it's now impossible to link cases together? The situation is clearly out of control.

This is totally on Abe and his government. They should've acted in mid-Feb when this all started. Even if we are kind and say they didn't know what they were dealing with, literally every day since then events around the world have shown very clearly what we are dealing with. And still they haven't acted.

Again, just for clarity...

The timeline:

• Nov 29 - First known case in China.

• 21 Jan - Chinese authorities first publicly concede there was human-to-human transmission.

• End of Jan to start of Feb - Chinese New Year.

• Japan (in particular Tokyo and Hokkaido) is the 2nd most popular destination for Chinese tourists during this time.

• Mid-late Feb - First spike / cluster of virus cases in Hokkaido.

• Late Feb - Diamond Princess cruise ship.

• Feb 23 - infected passengers let off the ship and made their way home via public transport - some traveling through central Tokyo.

• Feb 23 to March 24 - Not a lot happens in terms of prevention. Schools 'close' but some kids keep going to school. Generally business as usual. Government keeps insisting the Olympics are going ahead as planned.

• March 24 - Olympics cancelled

• March 28 - Abe calls for heightened vigilance against the surge in COVID-19 cases in Japan.

I'd love to hear Abe explain what specifically has happened in the last few days to cause this surge in cases? Why the sudden jump in numbers and the sudden increase in serious concern?

This virus has been in Japan since Chinese New Year in late Jan-early Feb. When the first cluster was found in Hokkaido (skiing tourists?), it's reasonable to presume there were similar numbers in Tokyo too. The reason clusters weren't found in Tokyo is just a matter of the numbers in relation to the population. As no action was taken, it was left to spread around Tokyo and beyond. Infected people were let off the cruise ship and allowed to travel home on public transport - so it clearly spread in late Feb too. For more than a month, no serious or appropriate action was taken, so it has been left to spread.

The numbers have clearly been suppressed. People haven't been tested. Many reports state people with symptoms being diagnosed with bronchitis, hay-fever, pneumonia, influenza, and told to go home - only for them to return to hospital a second or third time before they are finally diagnosed with COVID. While the rest of the world is quarantining, practicing social distancing and teleworking, Japan has barely changed its behaviour.

If this is now a surge, its because of the non-action of the government since mid-February. If Abe thinks today's numbers constitute reason to be more serious, then think about what the real numbers actually show - because the actual numbers will be many times more than what are being officially reported.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe warns Japanese to prepare for prolonged coronavirus battle See in context

So let's have a look at the timeline:

Nov 29 - First known case in China.

21 Jan - Chinese authorities first publicly concede there was human-to-human transmission.

End of Jan to start of Feb - Chinese New Year.

• Japan (in particular Tokyo and Hokkaido) is the 2nd most popular destination for Chinese tourists during this time.

Mid-late Feb - First spike / cluster of virus cases in Hokkaido.

Late Feb - Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Feb 23 - infected passengers let off the ship and made their way home via public transport - some traveling through central Tokyo.

Feb 23 to March 24 - Not a lot happens in terms of prevention. Schools 'close' but some kids keep going to school. Generally business as usual. Government keeps insisting the Olympics are going ahead as planned.

March 24 - Olympics cancelled

March 28 - Abe calls for heightened vigilance against the surge in COVID-19 cases in Japan.

I'd love to hear Abe explain what specifically has happened in the last few days to cause this surge in cases? Why the sudden jump in numbers and the sudden increase in serious concern?

This virus has been in Japan since Chinese New Year in late Jan-early Feb. When the first cluster was found in Hokkaido (skiing tourists?), it's reasonable to presume there were similar numbers in Tokyo too. The reason clusters weren't found in Tokyo is just a matter of the numbers in relation to the population. As no action was taken, it was left to spread around Tokyo and beyond. Infected people were let off the cruise ship and allowed to travel home on public transport - so it clearly spread in late Feb too. For more than a month, no serious or appropriate action was taken, so it has been left to spread.

The numbers have clearly been suppressed. People haven't been tested. Many reports state people with symptoms being diagnosed with bronchitis, hay-fever, pneumonia, influenza, and told to go home - only for them to return to hospital a second or third time before they are finally diagnosed with COVID. While the rest of the world is quarantining, practicing social distancing and teleworking, Japan has barely changed its behaviour.

If this is now a surge, its because of the non-action of the government since mid-February. If Abe thinks today's numbers constitute reason to be more serious, then think about what the real numbers actually show - because the actual numbers will be many times more than what are being officially reported.

25 ( +25 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan plans huge stimulus package to cushion blow from coronavirus See in context

A mortgage holiday and a cash payment of 250k(cash not in food vouchers) per adult would be a good way to start things off. If it’s per household you’re penalising married people instead of helping them more than single people..

Not just married people but also everyone who lives in a multi-generation house. There are so many 3 (and in some cases 4) generation households here. Any cash payment must be paid per person and not per household.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan plans huge stimulus package to cushion blow from coronavirus See in context

People need cash in their hands so they can deal with their own personal situations- like paying rent, mortgages, debt, food, medication etc.

‘Beef and fish coupons’ are a complete waste of time, and the fact such an idea is even being given the time of day is yet more evidence that these people just don’t have a clue.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Posted in: 92 from Chicago let in at Narita airport without being asked to self-isolate See in context

@CA Japanese

I will do that although they will probably just file my letter away because it would be an inconvenience to acknowledge what I write. Japanese bureaucrats are very good at that - filing things away...

That's probably true - but the more correspondence they get, the more difficult it becomes to ignore it.

The more pressure they are put under by the national media (which is pathetic by the way), as well as the foreign media, the better.

Please stick around here and keep posting!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 92 from Chicago let in at Narita airport without being asked to self-isolate See in context

@CA Japanese - You make your point very eloquently, and I completely agree with you.

I urge you to share your grievances with your local politician(s), governor, mayor etc. as well as local and national journalists.

If you have friends and family who think the same, encourage them to do so too. Letters and emails can be anonymous - as can social media contact.

As you are Japanese I feel that your voice is stronger than mine, and more likely to be listened to.

The only way change ever happens, and the only way people in power are held to account, is when the ‘normal people’ speak up instead of remaining silent.

This general incompetence by the people supposedly in charge of the country and our interests has gone on far too long. Japanese people (and us foreigners living here too) need to make it clear that it’s not acceptable, and there need to be big changes.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Organizers set up task force to deal with Olympic postponement See in context

How totally and utterly depressing.

There is so much to say about this article, but I just can’t be bothered.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan, spared mass outbreak so far, now sees national crisis after Tokyo surge See in context

It’s always convenient when national crises wait until the day after a big political decision has been made.

This virus has been spreading in Japan since the end of January - Chinese New Year. (That isn’t a slight on China before anyone jumps on that bandwagon).

Had the government ACTED strongly enough nationwide in February when there were a high number of cases in Hokkaido (skiing tourists?), and the cruise ship - then the curve could have been well and truely flattened and under control now.

This isn’t a case of hindsight either. I, and many others, have been saying this is going to get worse here and not enough is being done. Watching in real time at how this thing has spread around the world has shown that the reaction in Japan has been nothing short of criminal.

There needs to be a political revolution in Japan. All these politicians who have been complicit in this monumental mishandling should be removed from office at the earliest opportunity.

22 ( +24 / -2 )

Posted in: Guide to reduce virus risks issued for schools before reopening See in context

Japanese news is reporting an outbreak of corona virus in my very neighbourhood, and yet on a national level the response is one of denial. 

@Bungle - Stay safe dude.

Many people on here over the last 4-6 weeks predicted this is exactly what would happen - once the Olympics were officially cancelled or postponed suddenly outbreaks would get reported.

It makes me sick. This has obviously been going on all the time.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Guide to reduce virus risks issued for schools before reopening See in context

...warning against gathering in clusters.

The guidelines also request that students and staff avoid conversing with others at close quarters.

You mean like 40 students all together in a small classroom?

If this is now the official advice, then what are they proposing for packed trains and train stations?

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Posted in: Mother kills 1-year-old daughter, then tries to kill herself See in context

Mental health and/or domestic violence issues yet again not being dealt with in a serious way.

How many more deaths will it take before the system is reformed to something more fit for service?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan, IOC agree to postpone Tokyo Olympics for one year See in context

Abe: Did you get the script I faxed through?

Bach: Yes I did.

Abe: OK after three, let’s read it out together. 1...2...3.

Bach/Abe: “I think it’s for the best that we postpone the Olympics until next year”.

Abe: That was clearly a joint decision, right?

Bach: I’d say so, yes.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Posted in: Koike urges cooperation to avoid Tokyo lockdown See in context

Governor Yuriko Koike said the next three weeks were critical for whether Tokyo would see an "overshoot" - an explosive rise - in virus cases.

It’s a shame that the previous three weeks have passed with so little concern.

If Koike and Abe and the whole lot of them had started taking this super seriously 6+ weeks ago, then the next three weeks might not need to be ‘critical’.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Warnings fail to stop Japanese crowds from viewing cherry blossoms See in context

@didou

I myself go out like them because I am not in a parano or psychotic mental state regarding the covid

You are clearly mistaken because it seems that you are unable to see any risk at all.

People who understand the huge risk this virus is presenting and the methods required to slow down its transmission are certainly not paranoid or psychotic.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: Warnings fail to stop Japanese crowds from viewing cherry blossoms See in context

Unbelievable levels of ignorance and stupidity.

As someone else said previously, it's a massive case of 'it doesn't exist until it affects me personally'.

"We are told to exercise self-restraint but I wanted to have one party at least,"

"Usually we have hanami parties every weekend during the flower season, but this year we do this only once, only today."

By doing it 'only once' you are still putting dozens of people's health at risk over the next 14 days.

Nearby, a group of women sat picnicking, none of them wearing masks.

Idiotic, selfish, ignorant.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Posted in: Olympic torch relay to proceed as planned See in context

I see that Mori still isn’t self isolating or wearing a mask.

The picture suggests this was a press conference of some kind - did any journalists ask Mori as to why he was still openly mixing with people and not wearing a mask after being directly exposed to someone who was confirmed to have contracted the virus? Was he tested and found to be negative?

Surely one journalist somewhere has asked this question, right?

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Posted in: Fukushima farmers looking forward to Olympic torch relay See in context

Unfortunately somebody needs to give Ryoji some harsh truths. The torch relay should be postponed at once, and people should be told to practice social distancing.

The torch relay WILL happen in all probability this time next year. Until then, and if people want to be alive and healthy to participate/watch it, they should start taking this virus seriously and stop all this fantastical thinking that there is absolutely nothing wrong in this country.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympics seem sure to happen — but in 2021, not 2020 See in context

This outcome was so blindingly obviously even six weeks ago.

The fact that so much attention and time has been spent on ‘going ahead with plans’ instead of diverting all available budget and political man-hours to properly addressing this virus and public health concerns is, quite frankly, worthy of all the ‘bashing’ it gets.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Cluster suspected at Oita medical center after 2 more virus cases confirmed See in context

Major cherry blossom festivals have been cancelled, ropes have been set up around the trees and signs reading "no parties allowed" have been posted.

There we have it. The Japanese authorities think that 'ropes and signs' are enough to prevent the possible spread of the virus.

@ozellis - The reason I am so 'emotional' about this is that the government has already decided that schools will start on schedule next month. I will therefore be directly exposed to approximately 400 students every week - who will initially come together from all over the country - and it literally puts the health of me and my family at risk.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Cluster suspected at Oita medical center after 2 more virus cases confirmed See in context

This picture is just pure ignorance and stupidity.

The government is to blame for its passiveness and general lack of urgency - but the people in this country need to wake up.

Look around the world - this virus is real.

There is going to be a spike in Japan, and I hope that everyone who is affected by it sues the hell out of the government for its complete incompetence.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Posted in: Finance Ministry will not probe Moritomo Gakuen scandal again: Aso See in context

Rotten to the core.

Corruption takes care of corruption.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan plans corporate tax refunds for virus-hit companies See in context

Abe and his cronies once again proving they haven’t got a clue.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: 2 men arrested after fight over vandalism to car See in context

This sounds like another example of Japanese bureaucracy lacking basic common sense.

Sure, by the letter of the law and looking at his actions in total isolation, Mase probably ‘assaulted’ the old guy. However, taking into account what had happened previous to that, there’s no way his actions should be deemed assault.

The lack of common sense and flexible thinking in this country is quite often scary.

An 82 year old man reversed into my car in a parking lot. My car was parked and my wife and I were in the supermarket at the time. I was deemed to be 20% ‘at fault’ because my tires on the drivers side were touching the white line - not over the line, just touching. I tried explaining that I was trying to leave as much space as possible for my pregnant wife to get out of the passenger side - but it didn’t make any difference. The police made it an issue by officially reporting that my tires were touching the white line. After that the old guy’s insurance company wouldn’t let that fact go and insisted they’d take the case to court if I didn’t agree. The fact that the other guy reversed into my front right headlight was neither here nor there. Had I been bang center in the space he’d still have hit me.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: IOC reviewing Games scenarios; cancellation not among them: Bach See in context

The IOC wants Japan to be the ones to officially cancel or postpone so it isn’t liable for the billions of dollars such a decision would incur.

For the same reason, Japan wants the IOC to be the ones to officially cancel or postpone.

Both are playing this hugely irresponsible game of chicken to see who blinks first.

Look around he world guys - not just in Japan, but everywhere. Even if things look like they starting to improve by the start of June, is it really the best thing to do to have 600,000 people from all four corners of the globe all come to Japan at the same time?

What is the plan if an athlete we’re to test positive on day 1 of the games? Cancel it all then?

Show some responsibility and postpone it all until such a time we are certain that people’s health will not be put at risk.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: Olympic flame arrives in Japan amid worries over virus impact See in context

Blow it out and send it straight back.

Are we going to have an Olympics with just Japanese athletes - because allowing hundreds of thousands of athletes and team officials from all over the world into the country in less than 4 months would be absolute insanity.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Some children can't understand why their schools are closed while adults continue what appears to be close to normal life. She says adults need to understand that children are being forced to endure the current situation. See in context

Some children can't understand why their schools are closed while adults continue what appears to be close to normal life.

This is the easiest question anyone will answer today - maybe the adults should be telling them and making sure they understand and are reassured?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

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

‘Considers’ - come on! Just postpone it for goodness sake. It’s not at all essential or necessary.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

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

Even if Japan was miraculously 100% free of the virus by the start of May, looking at the current state of the rest of the world it’s unlikey every single other country would be.

Are we saying that the Japanese government would risk this country’s total recovery on letting, at the very least, hundreds of thousands of participants and team staff from all over the world into the country?

That would be insane, and reckless beyond belief.

The practice of social distancing doesn’t really fit in with hosting the worlds biggest international sporting event.

Its not going to happen. The sooner they can admit this to themselves, the sooner they can make a contingency plan - for example postponing until 2021, and then reviewing the decision in January next year as to whether they can go ahead and stage it in the summer or even the autumn.

Yes, the autumn! Maybe this virus will have a silver lining after all.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: What is the point of exposing details of the infected people's actions? If they took a subway train, are you going to stop taking that one? See in context

If it's not important for the general public to know where seriously infected people have been, then why is it important for Abe, or Trump, or Trudeau etc. to know that a secretary of an aid of a minister they had dinner with has tested positive and as a result they should be tested immediately?

Of course it's important. The best way to slow down the transmission of the virus is for all people to minimize their social contacts, minimize their travel, and maintain high levels of hygiene. If people are more aware of possible hotspots, or possible interactions they might have had in such an area, they can be even more prudent with their actions going forward.

It won't eliminate the risk completely, but it's all about mitigating the risk as much as we can.

It's basic common sense, and being open and honest about exactly what's going on. That way we can all make rational decisions about our own health and safety.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe says no need yet for emergency declaration; Tokyo Olympics still on See in context

I don't get it. Only 2% of the patients die (elderly and people with pre-existing conditions). Most people who get the virus have no or only mild symptoms. Why is there such a huge over reaction to this?

This is exactly the kind of response that is so concerning regarding the way this issue is being covered here.

The information is out there. I’ve seen it mentioned by many posters on here. It’s been published by reputable news outlets - go check the BBC website, the Guardian website to start. They also contain links to further sources.

The ‘over reaction’ is necessary to ‘flatten the curve’. This means slowing down the spread of the virus which is important to take the strain off hospitals and health care providers.

Ask yourself the following: Do you want 1 million people going to hospitals tomorrow, or 1 million people going to hospitals spread over the next 3 months?

Most cases of infections seem to be quite mild. Maybe some of us have had it already and have recovered - but how many people did we pass it on to during that time? In the most serious cases, people need urgent care and attention. Ask yourself again, would you want an elderly relative in such a condition going to hospital with 1 million other people, or with beds ready and available?

If people don’t understand the serious implications of the threat, then they won’t change their behaviour accordingly. The media has to do better here. It’s clear the government isn’t being transparent about the numbers or the locations of cases, and as a result people won’t be doing enough to minimise social contact.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

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