Regarding the May 3 story “Virus-linked ambulance rejections by hospitals rose fivefold in April,” COVID-19 has been wreaking all sorts of havoc for the past few months. Lots of people are equating it to this generation’s world war. I don’t want to assert that they are right. I don’t think any virus can be as gruesome and devastating in the same sense that a major war has shown to be time and time again. But if we are supposed to treat this as a kind of war, I agree.
The way governments should be responding to this pandemic should resemble wartime efforts. U.S. President Trump has signed an executive order to invoke the Defense Production Act and called on major corporations to help in the effort to fight this virus. Time will tell how effective this becomes. Japan has seen a few conglomerates declare that they will mass-produce face masks, ventilators and PPE. It’s great to see private companies show a little initiative. Perhaps they feel that the government cannot get it done alone. I think they are right. Prime Minister Abe has not deployed the Self-Defense Forces, which makes things a lot more difficult.
The SDF is deployed every single time there is a natural disaster. Whenever there is a major earthquake or heavy rainfall, you can bet that Abe will deploy the SDF and we’ll see them on TV helping out the victims. But not this time. COVID-19 is definitely not a natural disaster that we are used to seeing. These are unprecedented times for sure. But because these times are so rough, I think the SDF should be out administering tests and doing everything they can to help medical professionals who have been overwhelmed for far too long. I’m not an expert and have no idea if the SDF has the capabilities to undertake such a daunting task. But I’m sure there is plenty that they can help out with.
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.