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Japan Acted Like the Virus Had Gone. Now It’s Spread Everywhere.

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Japan Acted Like the Virus Had Gone. Now It’s Spread Everywhere.

Pedestrians cross a road while traffic moves along a street at dusk in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo on July 10. After initial success, Japan is facing a reality check on the coronavirus.

The country garnered global attention after containing the first wave of Covid-19 with what it referred to as the “Japan Model” — limited testing and no lockdown, nor any legal means to force businesses to close. The country’s finance minister even suggested a higher “cultural standard” helped contain the disease.

But now the island nation is facing a formidable resurgence, with Covid-19 cases hitting records nationwide day after day. Infections first concentrated in the capital have spread to other urban areas, while regions without cases for months have become new hotspots. And the patient demographic — originally younger people less likely to fall seriously ill — is expanding to the elderly, a concern given that Japan is home to the world’s oldest population.

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Experts say that Japan’s focus on the economy may have been its undoing. As other countries in Asia, which experienced the coronavirus earlier than those in the West, wrestle with new flare ups of Covid-19, Japan now risks becoming a warning for what happens when a country moves too fast to normalize — and doesn’t adjust its strategy when the outbreak changes. Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal As Residents Urged Not To Flee Tokyo While Japan declared a state of emergency to contain the first wave of the virus, it didn’t compel people to stay home or businesses to shut. That was ended in late May and officials quickly pivoted to a full reopening in an attempt […]

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