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Japan and its Asian neighbors have on the whole fared better than the West during the COVID-19 pandemic, largely due to their acceptance of public health and social measures and lessons learned from the recent past, and now they have a duty to pass on their knowledge, argues Keishi Abe in an API Geoeconomic Briefing. That way, the region can help not only itself, but the whole world, get back on its feet.

In another commentary, Ramesh Thakur notes that Japan’s coronavirus response drew criticism internationally for neither imposing a lockdown nor obsessively testing asymptomatic people. Its experience, he argues, only serves to highlight the lack of data to support the abstract models that governments relied on to enforce lockdowns.

Of course, the pandemic is not over yet, and Japan is enduring its worst wave yet, but as Haruaki Deguchi points out, fatalities worldwide are a fraction of those that resulted from past pandemics. International frameworks like the World Health Organization have played a significant role in helping control the spread, he argues, so why do 67% of Japanese view the WHO negatively?

How Asia contained COVID-19 (Nov. 24) | ABC NEWS
How Asia contained COVID-19 (Nov. 24) | ABC NEWS

In vaccine news, Japan expects to secure 310 million shots of the stuff, including 72 million from U.S. drugmaker Pfizer, PM Suga said Thursday. The same day, Takeda Pharmaceutical announced it has begun clinical trials in Japan of the Moderna vaccine candidate, aiming to get it into national circulation within the first half of this year.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are best served cold — very, very cold. Aiding what could be a logistical nightmare of a rollout, Panasonic said Thursday it has developed a cold box capable of storing materials at minus 70C for up to 18 days using refrigerants such as dry ice, with no need for an electric power source. Now, if they could just speed up the approval process …

Thursday’s (and Wednesday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (50 or over): Tokyo 1,471 (1,274), Kanagawa 731 (716), Osaka 501 (506), Chiba 480 (397), Saitama 436 (411), Fukuoka 285 (277), Aichi 270 (246), Hyogo 237 (296), Kyoto 140 (123), Hokkaido 130 (164), Ibaraki 83 (85), Okinawa 68 (111), Gunma 65 (52), Shizuoka 60 (76), Gifu 57 (55), Miyagi 51 (45). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker

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