Sports arenas are without fans. Restrictions on travel are in place throughout the world. People's interest in toilet paper has irrationally skyrocketed. Who predicted that this decade would begin with what the World Health Organization has just declared a pandemic?

Welcome to the textbook definition of a strategic shock. Across the globe, countries' best laid plans are giving way to response to something no one saw coming. The spread of COVID-19 has claimed thousands of lives, disrupted supply chains, delayed diplomatic engagements and impacted government priorities, among other things. While this has implications across the globe, it has some specific and important consequences for Japan.

First, it is important to understand what a strategic shock is, and what it could mean looking ahead. A strategic shock is an unexpected event that can disrupt existing trends and make significant changes to the trajectory of world affairs. It undermines the facts and assumptions upon which current policies, plans and strategies are based. Simply put, it is an occurrence that can derail whole countries from their current course.