As Japan continues to muddle through its response to the spread of the new coronavirus, the rest of the world has moved to the next phase.

In Europe, China, South Korea and the United States, countries are strategizing ways to resume economic and social activities, albeit still with an abundance of caution. Even as the state of emergency currently in place will be extended beyond May 6, the Japanese government must continue planning for reopening the country.

Of course, the first order of business is to carefully craft a plan for resuming domestic social and economic activities. While Japan spent the last month mostly playing catch-up with Europe, North America and other parts of Asia in its response to COVID-19, this will also give Japan the benefit of observing the others' efforts to reopen their countries, including which measures are the most effective.