Japan Govt Earns Certain Scores for Coronavirus Measures

Politics

Tokyo, Oct. 8 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government on Thursday earned certain scores from a private think tank for a series of measures it has taken in response to the novel coronavirus epidemic.

The government failed to respond proactively, but its coronavirus measures worked out to a certain degree, a survey team of experts set up by the Asia Pacific Initiative said in a report, while citing a delay in border control measures and problems in other steps.

The survey covered the period from January to around mid-July. The team interviewed a total of 83 people, including then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who took over Abe as prime minister in September, other senior government officials and infectious disease experts such as Shigeru Omi, head of the Japan Community Health Care Organization.

Introducing an analysis that the novel coronavirus entered Japan partly through Japanese people who traveled to Europe, where the virus spread rapidly, the report said that Japan "could have brought under control the expansion of infection in and after April" if the powerful border control measures against European countries that were put into place in March and later had been implemented "a little earlier."

The report mentioned a hugely unpopular program of distributing two cloth face masks to all households in Japan. Quoting an official at the prime minister's office as saying that some at the office rushed over the program and that it "fell flat," the report said, "The strategy to highlight the top-down decision backfired, depriving the (Abe) administration of its strength."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press