Five glimpses into how the novel coronavirus pandemic is leaving its mark on myriad aspects of Japanese society and forcing change:
- Economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic may have widened the gap between the nation’s rich and poor, Kyodo reports. Job losses, especially in the dining and travel industries, have pushed many people into poverty, while stock and other asset markets are booming on the back of global monetary easing. And the rich are spending big on jewelry and other luxuries.
- Last year, 6,976 women in Japan took their own lives, nearly 15% more than in 2019. Next month, nonprofit TELL will hold a two-day conference to shed light on the mental health issues faced by women and youth — another vulnerable group in Japan during the pandemic — writes David Cortez.
- What’s a Japanese spring without university entrance ceremonies in cherry blossom season? That’s precisely what happened last year after many festivities were canceled. A year later, universities are getting ready to hold a new round of entrance ceremonies and welcome new students, albeit with strict precautions observed by both faculty and freshmen, writes Kaori Shoji.
- The pandemic left Japanese students studying abroad scrambling. A year later, what’s happened to their academic dreams? As Kathryn Wortley reports, students who had their programs disrupted while overseas and had to return to Japan are grappling with a tough choice: study online, wait until borders reopen or abandon their study abroad.
- Not everyone can afford to wait out the pandemic. For some, every meeting is precious. While many hospitals are restricting visits by patients’ families to curb the spread of COVID-19, one facility in Nagoya has been making efforts to let patients with palliative care needs meet their family members as often as possible while they still can, the Chunichi Shimbun reports.