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

Richard Burgan comments

Posted in: Essential workers taking risks despite harassment during virus crisis See in context

Treating essential workers with less than great respect is not right. Personally, I go out of my way to thank them for what they are doing. As I go in and out of the hospital I show my respect and thank people for working hard for all of us. Thank you for your service!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Osaka to name and shame more pachinko parlors defying closure request See in context

If naming and shaming doesn't work, publish their financial statements and a list of owners. As long as they stay open the gambling addicts will fill them.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Go easy on the sake when stuck at home, Japanese brewer cautions See in context

I predict a "Corona" baby boom. Here's the chance to reverse the decline in the Japanese population. No excuses about being overworked now!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Koike pressures Abe to declare state of emergency See in context

Koike should hold a press conference and "order" Abe to declare an emergency for Tokyo. She should tell him that if he doesn't he will be blamed for the excess deaths that an unmitigated outbreak will bring. With the popular leader of Japan's biggest city standing up against him, Abe will cave in and declare the emergency. Of course Koike doesn't have any real authority to "order" Abe to do anything. But, it will strongly emphasize her point. If Japan does not take strong action to limit 81% of social contact for the next month Tokyo could easily become the next New York or worse since Tokyo has much less overflow hospital capacity than New York.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Nearly all prefectures shut schools over virus outbreak See in context

Just follow the guidelines and reduce your risk of getting sick (not only from COVID-19) by 95%:

1) Wash hands often

2) Don't touch your face with unwashed hands

3) Stay away from infected people (and everyone if close contact is not necessary)

4) Avoid poorly ventilated places with many people

5) Treat your clothes as contaminated. They should be washed in very hot (80C) water or with 0.1% diluted Clorox bleach. (That comes out to 0.0024% chlorine concentration) Hanging clothes outside to dry exposes them to fresh air and sunlight which will weaken or 'kill' viruses. (I hesitate to say kill since viruses are not living things)

6) When you must go out do so off-hours

It's OK to go outside, fresh air weakens viruses.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: 13 missing after cargo ship collides with fishing boat off Aomori See in context

Many ships don't keep proper watches. It will be interesting to see if either ship had it's AIS on. I'll bet they didn't even have their radar on or if they did weren't on watch. I wonder if they even had their running lights on. I see ships turn off AIS all the time. And, it is common that bridge to bridge VHF communications are used to verify that one vesicle has the other in sight. Of course they may not have had a watch on the radio either. Or, maybe there was a language barrier. I will look forward to the results of the investigation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Overreliance on hand sanitizers may increase risk of virus infection See in context

Zichi, It's good that medical workers sanitized their hands when they left your room. It's much better if the sanitize when the come in! And, by the way why don't medical workers, including doctors, practice better infection control? And why don't exam rooms and doctors offices all have sinks by the door with soap, hot water and towels?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Overreliance on hand sanitizers may increase risk of virus infection See in context

Using cheap alcohol based sanitizers and mist spray sanitizers isn't so good. Most good sanitizers and hand soaps have added oils or skin lotion to help protect skin. Medical Laboratory workers wash their hands frequently and change gloves often during work. They generally get sick less often than the general public, proving that the measures they take work effectively. You should wash with hand soap as the first choice and if that's not available use sanitizer. It's the suds that remove the harmful agents not the soap. Alcohol is a weak anticeptic and helps prevent the transfer of disease agents. If you develop dry or cracked skin you need to add the use of a hand cream.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan announces basic policy to fight spread of coronavirus See in context

Where is the statement saying: We urge all citizens to wash their hands frequently, practice keeping hands away from ones face, stay away from infected people, use alcohol sanitizer when unable to wash hands, sanitize surfaces with diluted chlorine bleach, and wear a stay home if you are sick. Please do your part to keep the COVID-19 virus from spreading in Japan.

The government needs to help educate the public what to do to make this effective.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Gov't panel, responding to criticism, says cruise ship not designed to be hospital See in context

I'll bet if they had relocated half of the passengers in the inner cabins and provided infection control training to the crew the outcome would have been much better. It will be very interesting to see which rooms the 600+ people who acquired the disease onboard were in. Japan has a defense partnership with the US. I bet if they had asked the US to set up a field hospital near the ship it could have been done in days. What a great joint training exercise that would have been. But bureaucrats can't think out of the box. I remember back to the 3/11 earthquake when the airport was flooded. The US military came in and clear the field in hours and started bringing in supplies. They were asked to leave because they had cleared the cars and airplanes away by simply pushing them into a pile. The bureaucrats were concerned that they hadn't respected peoples personal property. In an emergency the goal isn't to save face. Get out of the way when an ambulance approaches!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan reports 3rd cruise ship passenger death; 57 more infected See in context

In Japan people are trying to avoid catching the COVID-19 virus. Many organizations have cancelled large and small gatherings. People are wearing masks at a higher than usual rate, and many locations have deployed hand sanitizer stations at entrances. It's interesting that people here are still using the name "New Coronavirus" rather than the official name, COVID-19.

The prevention measures I am seeing reflect a lack of understanding of how the virus spreads and how to do infection control. Masks don't protect you, hand washing does. Masks can actually make you more likely to get sick because people are constantly touching and adjusting them, wearing them multiple times, and for long periods. Masks should be used by sick people to protect others - not to avoid getting sick yourself. You should wash your hands when you enter a place and when you leave it. Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth if you haven't just washed you hands. And, remember that your cloths are contaminated. Also, note that chlorine bleach (1 ml per liter is very effective at killing viruses). Wash you hands frequently, don't touch you face with contaminated hands, wash your face, stay away from sick people, treat your cloths as contaminated.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: Professor denies he was pressured to remove videos on virus-hit ship See in context

Thank you Professor Iwata for doing the right thing and posting the video. Government bureaucrats should not have been put in charge of this situation. They are bureaucrats, not health care professionals. You truly do understand how viruses spread judging from your viral video. Lets see if the government learns anything from this.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan, U.S., S Korea discuss coronavirus, N Korea See in context

Glad to see these three are talking in person. If you count the number of friends each country has the score is really lopsided. If you narrow it down to the neighborhood it gets extremely lopsided. Japan, has good relations with most nations. The US has fewer and it has been dropping during the 'current' administration. And, Korea has the least. In the neighborhood Korea comes in last again with about 1-1/2 friends. Why is that?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Non-infected Americans from cruise ship in Yokohama to be taken back to U.S. See in context

In my opinion, Japan has handled the COVID-19 virus very responsibly. But, they have not communicated very well and left themselves open to criticism. This is a crisis in the making. The right actions can mitigate if not stop it. Let's keep the pressure on for the government to do this right. And, at the same time everyone in Japan needs to take personal actions to reduce their risk of catching or spreading the virus. I think I'll go wash my hands and face...

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Posted in: Japan reports first coronavirus death; 3 others, including doctor test positive See in context

Japanese are very conscious of cleanliness, so I thought. Generally that's true from my experience. But it's not always true. For example, when I first visited medical facilities I didn't see any place for staff to wash their hands or wearing surgical gloves. I saw people wearing face masks to protect themselves from disease. and I discovered that beds aren't always changed between patients. What?? When I worked in medical facilities it was wash you hands whenever entering or leaving a room, wear gloves for direct contact, change the exam tables before each new patient, and mask to prevent infecting others. (USA) So, how can this be? Medical care in Japan is top notch, right? Well, based on infection control outcomes Japan is as good as the USA.

However, in the case of the COVID-19 (Novel Wuhan Corona virus 2019) the common Japanese infection control standards aren't going to cut it. Japan needs to take preventative action rather than defensive action as they always see to regarding disasters. They must take pro-active rather than re-active actions to control this.

If you want to avoid infection this year try these measures: 1) wash your hands and face per guidelines 2) avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands 3) avoid sick people 4) if you touch surfaces (handrails, door handles, seats, etc.) in crowded public places repeat step 1. 5) stay fit and healthy (Don't depend on masks to protect yourself)

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Posted in: Virus warning See in context

I incorrectly said Shanghai in my post. I should have said Shenzhen. However, a number of other cities outside Wuhan have reported cases (suspected) of new corona virus.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Virus warning See in context

It's not just Wuhan anymore. There have been cases of new coronavirus in Bejing and Shanghai too. I'm surprised it has taken this long for this story to make the news in Japan. Better to quarantine check all visitors arriving from China. Masks offer little protection from viruses, it's best to avoid contact and wash your hands frequently. BTW, why do almost all new viruses originate in China? (Hint: the answer is well known.)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Police officer arrested on drunk driving charge in Okinawa See in context

The legal limit in Japan is 0.03% in Japan. In addition a police officer can judge you to be under the influence of alcohol based on your behavior or other evidence. It's up to a court to decide the penalty unless of course you cooperate and admit what you have done. Also, anyone who knows your are driving under the influence such as bar tenders, servers, restaurant owners, passengers, etc. can be held liable and penalized to the same level of DUI. So, for practical reasons, if you drink anything, don't drive! In the case of a police officer who gets caught DUI, he/she should get an extra stiff penalty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Toyota to build prototype city of the future in Japan See in context

Somebody tell me they've got flying cars and bathroom cleaning robots. OK, maybe the flying cars might have to wait until Honda builds a sister city. In fact cars (Toyota's) might not even be needed with only 175 Acres to cover...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: More details emerge on Ghosn's escape from Japan See in context

I'm no fan of Mr. Ghosn. Based on what I have seen and his background I'm pretty sure he's guilty of several financial crimes in Japan. And, I think he should be punished appropriately according to law. His escape from Japan is itself a crime. All of that seems pretty easy to understand and I doubt there are many who disagree with it. BUT, people have a right to presumed innocence until a a fair trial in a court of law shows otherwise. There can be no exceptions to this. Japan has a habit of denying due process and allowing the police to run an extortion game against anyone they arrest. Denying a person a lawyer, notification of family, and allowing the police to use physical and mental coercion behind closed doors is the way of totalitarian governments. As Mr. Ghosn tells his story it will likely expose Japan to even more international criticism and damage it's reputation as a modern and exceptional country. Much of the Japanese pretrial process seems to be the same as before WWII and no one thinks that was fair. I'd like to see Japan use this situation to overhaul its legal process and bring it up to international standards.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Posted in: Manager at Turkish jet operator says he helped Ghosn escape because of threats See in context

I did it because they threatened me... Like in "If you don't do it we won't give you this $10,000"?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Lebanon receives Interpol red notice for ex-Nissan boss Ghosn See in context

An Interpol "Red Notice" is just a notice that some police agency wants another police agency to be aware of something. For example, the Tokyo Police have issued an arrest warrant for Carlos Goshn. It has no power to compel anything. Lebanon can do whatever it chooses since they have no extradition treaty with Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan let ship operated by N Korea-linked firm go without probe See in context

Judging by the number of comments on this story, either nobody cares or everyone is busy getting ready for the holidays... There have been previous instances of of allowing N Korean connected ships to stop in Naha. What was the purpose of the visit? Was anything on or off loaded? Were repairs made? Did the port authorities and the Coast Guard get caught without a clue? Hopefully, the journalists at "Japan Today" will find out the answers to these questions and publish the story.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: S Korean court rejects petition to repeal Japan sex slave deal See in context

Finally cooler heads have prevailed on this issue. This may be the first step to resolving this political dispute. Now maybe Korea and Japan can work toward building a relationship of trust and friendship. Korea needs at least one friend in the neighborhood. It seems a lot of Mr. Moon's policies are not working out. And, he may be thinking that he won't be around much longer. It looks like he plans on living in Thailand in retirement to avoid the fate of his predecessors.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Posted in: Gov't proposes Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant water release into sea or air See in context

Radioactive elements are not man made. We can modify them and purify them but we can't create them. (Actually, we can create tiny quantities.) Essentially, all radioactive materials were collected by humans from nature. In nature they are dispersed and not dangerous. But, we refined them and they are dangerous.

If we dilute them back to the low levels they were originally found in it is safe to return them to nature. The best way to get rid of the dangerous radioactive materials from the Fukushima accident is to dilute them and return them to nature in the ocean. I find that people who disagree with this don't understand the subject.

You should understand that normally we may have low levels of radiation in our homes, we are exposed to higher levels all the time. Medical X-rays, CAT scans, airline flights, certain foods, air and waterborne radon, air and water filters in our homes, all expose us to higher than normal levels of radiation. Radiation levels in water returned to the ocean would be lower than any of the above. Plus, water is a great shielding media and radio active decay particles do not travel far in water.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Kyoto Animation arson attack puts media at crossroads in divulging victims' names See in context

In the end the fact that a person has died becomes a matter of public record. It seems fair to allow families to have some privacy when a loved one dies. After a reasonable amount of time the names should be disclosed to the public in a respectful way. Sensationalizing a persons death serves no purpose. I believe knowing that someone has died and the reason is important to society. People need to know in order to be able to protect themselves and society. There seems to be a stigma about dying in Japan. People think it reflects badly on the family. Yet everyone dies. It's just better to be open and honest than try to keep secrets in these matters.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Crane topples over onto cars, killing 1, injuring 6 in Miyagi Pref See in context

What's a Station Wagon? Seriously there are too many of these crane accidents in Japan. They are on TV every week. Maybe safety standards should be improved.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Posted in: Essay questions scrapped for new university entrance exams in Japan See in context

Japanese education does not deal with diversity of opinion and process well at all. Essay questions are an important way of establishing that a person can think for themselves and express it to others clearly. Explaining relationships, processes, concepts, making arguments, and clearly conveying ideas and knowledge to others is basic to success. In fact the biggest indicator of success at the university level is not knowledge, it is the ability to think and act independently. Taking risks is also important. Robots can memorize everything but they cannot think, formulate ideas, form theories, postulate, reach complex conclusions, and create new knowledge. And robots can't take risks. (Yet) Students who expect to be successful at the university level had better be good at these things. You cannot assess these skills with standard multiple choice questions.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Extension of S Korea-Japan intel pact likely to irritate N Korea See in context

Go ahead irritate NK so they don't have to pretend you did.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't says it is safe to release contaminated Fukushima water into ocean See in context

The thought of pouring water with dissolved radioisotopes in it sounds terrible. But, if it is diluted enough it's not a big deal. The fuel in the reactors came from the the Earth and was refined to purify it. Reactors do not make more radioactive material than the started with. (They do change it.) Essentially they are putting it back where it came from. The key to safety is dilution. We live with radiation all around us everyday. The air has many radioactive elements in it. The soil and water also has radiation in it. If you had a radiation meter you would find that banannas are quite high in radioactive potassium, your air filters are high in radioactive dust, cigarettes are high, and there are many other sources. In the US the limit for Radon gas in homes is 2 pCi/L yet many homes have levels that exceed 50 pCi/L. And, drinking water can easily contain 300 pCi/L. Radiation is dangerous when concentrated. We also encounter high radiation with medical X-rays and airline flights. It's a normal part of the environment when sufficiently diluted. Let's not make unfounded and emotional decisions regarding radiation.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

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