Trepidation soon gave way to excitement when Toru Koremura, president of a Tokyo-based cleaning company, took up the challenge of disinfecting the Diamond Princess — a cruise ship quarantined in the port of Yokohama that made global headlines earlier this year as a “petri dish” for the COVID-19 virus.

The 38-year-old cleaning specialist admits part of him was scared to delve into what was then considered one of the world’s biggest COVID-19 hotspots.

But in the end, what overcame his fear was the thought of what he and others tasked with decontaminating the vessel might be able to achieve: ridding the world of the notion that Japan was the source of the outbreak.