More attention needs to be paid to areas other than heavily hit areas such as Tokyo and Osaka when investigating and reporting on the coronavirus outbreak in Japan to raise risk awareness among citizens in those areas.

Japan is a compact country where long-range transportation services are readily available. So, no prefecture is safer than the others when it comes to the coronavirus. Yet officials and medical institutions in some prefectures seem to be reluctant to increase the number of coronavirus tests and are not doing enough to prevent the outbreak from spreading.

In the prefecture where I reside, for instance, people keep traveling to and from heavily hit areas where a state of emergency has been declared. Every single bullet train operating between heavily hit areas, namely Tokyo and Hakata, stops here. We had many tourists from abroad during the Chinese New Year holidays. The number of telephone inquiries, including requests for getting tested, are surging. But the total number of tests conducted so far remains surprisingly low compared with the neighboring prefectures.

Keeping the number of confirmed infections among citizens by limiting the number of people to get tested and succeeding in containment of the outbreak is different. Such a tactic may serve to assure local officials and medical institutions who want to avoid trouble for the time being. But it could lead to lack of risk awareness among citizens. The officials and medical institutions could end up facing serious consequences.

We should keep our eyes on the situation in local prefectures like we should also keep our eyes on the situation concerning the coronavirus outbreak in the third world.

Josh Nakayama
Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture

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.

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