Five snapshots of how Japanese society is coping amid the pandemic:
- The government wants to see the number of workers going to offices slashed by 70% under the new state of emergency. But can firms be persuaded to have employees work from home in the same numbers as they did under last year’s emergency? The evidence so far suggests not, writes Kazuaki Nagata.
- Japan’s new unified university entrance exams took place across the country over the weekend, with organizers taking anti-coronavirus measures such as requiring test-takers to wear masks and disinfect their hands. The exams drew 535,245 applicants and were held at 681 venues.
- Suicide rates in Japan jumped in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among women and children, even though they fell in the first wave, a survey shows. The July-October suicide rate rose 16% from the same period a year earlier, a stark reversal of the February-June decline of 14%.
- Members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will establish a panel to address loneliness, which they say is emerging as a serious public health challenge during the pandemic. The issue is not limited to young recluses and older people, but affects people across generations and income brackets.
- Domestic violence cases are already at a record high in fiscal 2020, with people more worried about life as the pandemic forces them to spend more time at home, according to official data. The total caseload was 132,355 for April-November, surpassing the fiscal 2019 level by 13,000 with four months left to go.