Will nationwide school closures help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus? Likely not as much as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe anticipated when he abruptly called on schools to shut starting this week due to a rising number of infections.

Abe admitted in the Diet earlier this week that he had made the decision without consulting infectious disease experts "because we did not have the luxury of taking our time in coming up with a decision."

Public health experts have raised concerns the move may turn out to be counterproductive.