Japan, the island nation to the east of China, has registered one of the lowest number of Coronavirus cases so far, despite proximity, trade, and regular interactions with the Chinese. Also, deaths from Coronavirus pandemic have been one of the lowest at 71, despite having the oldest demography in the world at 47.3 years.
This tells us that the Japanese government and citizens must have done something right which other countries should follow. Many prefectures and the local governments announced closing of schools and colleges till April, and everyone was advised to wear mask when going out.
The low number of cases has given the Japanese government luxury to not announce complete lockdown. Moreover, even if the Japanese government announces a complete lockdown, it would not send the police to clear people off the streets, because the post-World War II- which Japanese side lost badly- constitution does not allow for it.
Therefore, if the cases escalate, the situation would be uncontrollable, given the limited powers given to law enforcement agencies in Japan. But, so far, the ‘law abiding’ citizens of Japan have followed every order of the government and this is the reason that the country has been able to control epidemic.
Japanese people are probably the most law abiding citizens around the globe. Contrary to what we see in Europe, where the people came out on the road to protest against lockdown, and some countries even had to call Armed forces to enforce ‘social distancing’; or what we see in India, where people are offering Namaz prayers, spitting on roads, assaulting doctors, and chasing the health workers out of their area, Japanese people follow the government instructions very carefully. And this is the reason that the country is able to deal with natural calamities like Tsunami, flood etc; which regularly visits to the island nation.
Although few citizens and the opposition have asked for stricter response from the government, because they are skeptical about the government’s faith in people doing things right. “The (Japanese) government should be stricter like in Europe,” said Kato, a worker in massage parlor. “The government has too much faith in the public doing the right thing by themselves, but they should send a clearer and more decisive message that tells people that this (coronavirus) situation is really serious.”
But the Japanese government has reposed full faith in its citizens, as they have done right things earlier. Given the historical precedents during natural calamities, the government knows that its citizens behave responsibly. Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said the country will not be locked but advised the people to avoid public gathering, and wear masks. The government also said that every family would be provided two masks to ensure that everyone wears mask when they roam out for necessities.
Once the government instructed that every person would cover themselves with masks, the Japanese people followed it religiously. And given the various scientific researches published on effectiveness of masks in prevention of spread, it seems that this worked for Japan.
Japanese economy is set to suffer most from the pandemic. The exports to China, its main market, have stagnated. The Tokyo Olympics 2020 were expected to give a boost to its stagnated economy, but the games have been postponed to 2021 amid the pandemic.
Coronavirus is going to hit Japan hard, but the country is expected to triumph over, as they always do after every natural calamity. The hard-working and law abiding citizens of Japan has set an example for the citizens around the world. Japan is among the richest countries in the world, despite having minimal natural resources, thanks to its hard working and law abiding citizens.