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Two weeks have passed since Japan belatedly declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures. Now the declaration has been extended to the entire nation as COVID-19 infections continue to expand. The United States, in contrast, seems to be desperately striving to “Open up America again” by May 1.

The political fate of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe or U.S. President Donald Trump are not of particular interest. No matter what they do or don’t, they are doomed to flip-flop and fail. Rather, my apprehension these days has been how the COVID-19 pandemic, if it persists, will impact the existing international order. Will it be negative and if so, how damaging could that be?

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