An important question to ask about Yoichi Funabashi’s June 9 opinion piece “Time to build the post-pandemic world order” is: Why doesn’t he understand the most basic fact about COVID-19, the current pandemic?

The coronavirus is not, as he put it, “a common enemy” to be confronted like a bellicose nation. It is a virus, invisible to the human eye, that seeks human hosts. So far almost 7.5 million people around the world have been infected; deaths now exceed 400,000.

Viruses, like bacteria and all plant and animal life, are part of nature. We share planet Earth with all living creatures. We’ve done our part to eradicate a number of species. In turn, the coronavirus is doing its part to eradicate us.

Are there too many of us? Is our behavior offensive to nature? Have we upset a vital ecological balance?

Global supply chains help boost GDP. Do higher GDP figures bring greater happiness and well-being? The United States is an economic superpower. Its fabled New York City, however, is today less glittering Big Apple than bedlam.

Funabashi believes that nations will change their behavior; he favors something called “data government.” (I hope he’s joking.) He thinks certain countries will be “victors” in the new “international order.”

It would be swell if this were to happen. The Tokyo Olympics could then go on in the broiling summer of 2021.

But things won’t continue in this way.

The coronavirus is not merely a momentary threat. It is a harbinger of worse to come.

Our habits of consumption, our methods of industrial production, our competitive need for more and more stuff have taken a toll on the planet.

The planet, as is its way, has responded with epidemics and natural disasters. When will the next Kanto earthquake occur?

Warren Iwasa
Otaru, Hokkaido

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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