Coronavirus: Is Japan Safe?

Photo courtesy of, CCO

Coronavirus (コロナウイルス) fears are sweeping across the world and there is a lot of information (情報) – and misinformation (誤報) – concerning the virus, and how to respond.

Recently, there has been a shortage of (不足) masks and toilet paper, as panicked people continue to stockpile items. Though the fear of infection (感染) is understandable, many of the responses to the possible pandemic border on paranoia (被害妄想). On the other end of the spectrum, many believe that the Coronavirus is no more dangerous than influenza (インフルエンザ). As is often the case, the truth (真実) lies somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.

First, let’s talk about the numbers. Though Japan is clearly at risk because of its proximity to China (中国), the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases are actually quite low (低い). According to the World Health Organization, Japan has 254 confirmed cases, and 6 confirmed deaths (死). Though those numbers are a bit disheartening, we need to keep in mind that the countries (国) who are the most affected at this time have numbers much higher. The Republic of Korea (韓国), for example, has 4212 confirmed cases, with 22 total deaths. Italy (イタリア) has 1689 confirmed cases and 35 total deaths. China, the source of the virus, is now up to 80174 confirmed cases, and 2915 deaths. Compared to other surrounding countries, Japan is doing fairly well, despite less-than-adequate efforts (努力) to contain the virus. That isn’t to say that COVID-19 is a hoax, as Donald Drumpf has implied; it is still a deadly virus and a potential pandemic. Nevertheless (それにもかかわらず), extreme responses from Japanese citizens are mostly unwarranted, at this time.

Mostly in response to misinformation spread on social media (ソーシャルメディア), (Twitter, I’m looking at you) Japanese citizens (市民) all over Japan have taken …continue reading