Regarding the story “Games ‘unlikely to be canceled’ due to virus” in the Feb. 27 edition, a senior member of the IOC was quoted as saying that a decision as to whether to cancel or proceed with the Olympics this summer cannot be made until there are reliable facts on which to base it. But the Japanese government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak so far appears to be far from reliable.

First, the government was surprisingly slow to restrict entry of people from certain areas whom it could at that time have easily regarded as potential carriers of the virus to this country. Next, the information it provided after a tour bus driver and a guide who were in close contact with a group of tourists from Wuhan, China, had tested positive was not nearly enough to ensure that other people who might have been in close contact with the tour group or who have visited the spots where the tourist group had stayed would take precautions against further spreading of the virus.

The recent surge in transmission through what the government states were “unknown infection routes” could have been prevented or at least reduced if officials had responded differently.

Moreover, the extremely limited coronavirus testing conducted so far in Japan compared with neighboring countries reveals the government’s inability to assess the real situation.

The possibility that sontaku (the buzzword for surmising what your boss really wants and taking actions to achieve it without receiving clear instructions) is at work behind all this to please political and commercial interests by underestimating the figures and not showing the real picture cannot be denied.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.