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With emergency measures of some kind covering about 70% of the population, a surge in COVID-19 variants and a glacial vaccine rollout, Japan remains mired in the coronavirus crisis, even as other nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), such as the United States and Israel, declare the global economy is “turning the corner.” It’s a situation that is exacerbating the country’s mental health troubles, experts say.

More than one year on from the government’s first emergency declaration, the population is still subject to the same — if not greater — pandemic-related stresses and government-imposed measures implemented to contain infections. And with the country’s fully vaccinated rate among the lowest in the world at just over 3%, compared with top-runner Israel at about 57%, Japan’s outlook looks tough.

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