After five weeks in self-isolation, I feel sad because of what is happening in the world. Today we had 0 new cases in Tokyo and I went out for a long walk for the first time in more than one month. The good news is that somehow Japan has been able to dodge the BIG bullet, at least as of today, the worst might be still coming…
Japan was the second country in which a case of coronavirus was detected in January. But now, two months later, while other countries are in full lockdown like for example Spain (My family there is having a bad time), where I’m from, here in Japan most things are normal except for seeing fewer people outdoors, no tourism and some businesses like gyms closed.
I’m not sure about the reason why the coronavirus is growing slower in Japan.
But this is a list of things that might have helped.
1) Japan felt the panic early and acted with prudence from day one as a team
I’ve seen this before when Fukushima happened in 2011, the Japanese are used to earthquakes, tsunamis, natural disasters… They feel the panic early and act with maximum prudence from the beginning. Furthermore, there is an increased sense of solidarity and people helping each other, which is known as kizuna spirit.
Notice the difference:
FEELING the panic VS ACTING with panic.
The Japanese feel the panic and the fear early, but act without panic, they help each other and prepare for the worst.
2) Wearing masks from day one
I can’t say that all Japanese are wearing masks, but I would say that over 80% and in some cases even more, of the people outdoors in Tokyo have been wearing masks since the end of January. They do wear masks even without a pandemic risk.
I believe this is one of the most important factors in the reduced rate of contagiousness of coronavirus in Japan.
Evidence that masks (also surgical masks) help
– Japan is restricting travel.
– Schools closed.
– Gyms and sports facilities closed.
– Events were canceled early on.
– Most companies are stoping business trips, “all hands” meetings, parties and gatherings.
– Many people are self-isolating (But it is not enforced by the Government as of today).
4) Social factors
– In Japan we don’t shake hands, we bow to each other.
– Usually they are not touchy in social events. It is difficult to see people hugging or kissing.
– Japanese kids are taught to clean their hands and gargle early in their lives.
5) Hand sanitizers
There are hand sanitizers already installed at the entrance of almost any shop, office or building in Japan. I’ve seen these since I arrived in Japan in 2004, and I always wondered why are they so scared of viruses to have alcohol-based hand sanitizers everywhere?
They were already preparing for the worst since decades ago.
Prepare and act as early as you can.
Be safe wherever you are and I wish health and happiness to you and your family and friends.