During the early phase of the coronavirus pandemic, Japan seemed to be able to control the spread. However, the number has been steeply rising.
When we read through news articles on handling pandemics, it is clear that reducing social contact is required to lower or flatten the epidemic curve. Then the epidemic curve can be maintained within the available medical resources. The Tokyo governor has requested that people avoid unnecessary outings to effectively reduce social contact. However, according to the webpage of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the number of passengers using Toei subways is still high, even on weekends. Although subway users may not reflect social distancing directly, other pieces of evidence can be found that this request of the metropolitan government should be issued more severely to bring about more effective social distancing.
Around the famous districts of Tokyo such as Akihabara or Shinjuku, there are still a number of fresh graduates wearing suits and rushing toward their new employment. One example of a stricter rule would be ordering offices to allow employees to work totally from home unless the nature of their work requires personal contact, like service provision. On the other hand, during this time, most of the people who have to go outside for grocery shopping will be senior citizens who may not be able to use internet services for door-to-door delivery. These elderly people are more likely to face a severe outcome once infected. Therefore, this factor should also be considered by the government.
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.