Japanese officials say Tokyo is at risk of an 'overshoot,' but what exactly does that mean?
Japan Times -- Apr 05
There has been much talk in Japan recently about the imminent danger posed by an “overshoot,” a word used with no Japanese translation, little context and an apparent disregard for the English language, baffling English and Japanese speakers alike.

Of the many Japanese politicians, experts and journalists who have adopted the word as part of their virus lexicon, few seem to have taken a moment to ponder what it actually means or where it comes from.

In normal contexts, to overshoot means to shoot or pass over or beyond a target, like when an aircraft flies beyond a runway while trying to land.

According to the health ministry, “overshoot” means an explosive spike in coronavirus infections in which the number of patients doubles within two to three days. Officials fear “overshoot” will lead to the collapse of the health care system.

In Tokyo, the number of infections has grown more than sixfold over the past two weeks, but government officials maintain that an “overshoot” has not occurred here or anywhere else in the country.

The first person to publicly use this new term in Japan is thought to be Shigeru Omi, a member of the government’s coronavirus panel and president of the Japan Community Health Organization. Omi, who was also director of the Western Pacific Regional Office of the World Health Organization, mentioned the term repeatedly during a news conference in February.

However, It’s difficult to pinpoint who actually coined the term. One member of the panel credited Hiroshi Nishiura, an epidemiological researcher from Hokkaido University who was recently enlisted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to trace coronavirus infections in the capital to their point of origin.

The term doesn’t seem to be used commonly outside Japan, if at all. After an exhaustive search, however, one professor claims to have found its point of origin.

Kumiko Torikai, professor emeritus at Rikkyo University and an expert in communication and foreign languages, said the earliest reference she could find was a February news conference by Chris Witty, England’s chief medical adviser.

News source: Japan Times
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