It is common knowledge that the coronavirus has disturbed the order of many countries around the world. Such a virus was discovered on December 31, 2019 after cases registered in China. Generally, coronavirus infections cause breathing problems and symptoms similar to a common cold. From China, the coronavirus soon spread to Japan and the world.
However, the number of infected people reported by the government shows that the pace of spread in the country is slow, compared to other countries. As of the writing of this article, there were 829 confirmed cases and 28 deaths. This shows that the mortality rate is 2.9%, lower than the current world average, which is 3.9%. Much is due to how the Japanese government viewed and dealt with this virus.
Measures taken by japan
Japan was the second country to announce a confirmed case of coronavirus outside China. This case was reported on January 16, 2020. Before, Japan had the third highest number of cases outside of China, most of which were confirmed among the crew and passengers of the cruise ship Diamond Princess. Seven deaths were counted on board the cruise ship.
The first confirmed case on the ship was reported on February 1, in a guest who disembarked on January 25 in Hong Kong. Its departure in Yokohama on the 20th of January. The ship had about 2,666 guests, and about 1,045 crew members were quarantined.
Some measures have been taken by the Japanese government, but the current climate makes infection control difficult. Measures have been announced to try to contain the spread and reduce the impact of the epidemic. Schools were closed and travel restrictions were established, mainly from countries affected by the coronavirus. As of February 17, 2020, Japan had removed more than 800 citizens from Wuhan City and Hubei Province, China, on special flights.
Foreigners who traveled to Chinese provinces affected by the virus, were banned from entering Japan. Even foreigners who have had their passports issued in these Chinese provinces cannot enter Japan. In addition, foreigners who are on cruises cannot temporarily enter Japan, such as the MS Westerdam cruise that is docked in Cambodia.
Japanese airports are recommending travelers to wear masks, in addition to all employees. Doorknobs and handrails at airport terminals are being disinfected and cleaned very frequently, both at airports with national and international flights. It was also recommended to the Japanese to avoid any kind of public transport.
Taking into account the large-scale risk of infection, cultural events were suspended or postponed for at least two weeks. It was also recommended by the government that people who have any symptoms of cold, do not go to work, avoid crowded places or even leave the house.
Especially older people and those with underlying diseases, as they are at risk. As a note, according to the Ministry of the Interior, the elderly population in Japan is over 35 million people.
The spread of the virus around the world has impacted both trade and the economy of many countries, including Japan. Coronavirus is said to further undermine Japanese economic growth prospects in 2020, at least in the first quarter. The Japanese economy has been showing signs of slowing down.
GDP has been falling for the first time in five quarters. And, as a consequence of the virus, the forecast is that GDP will continue to fall more and more. Japanese economic growth was also affected dramatically, with a significant drop.
The manufacture of machinery, electronics, transport and chemicals has a huge share in Japanese trade. And many of these means depend on China, where production has been paralyzed and demand has been reduced. China accounts for half of Japan’s Asian exports and imports.
Japanese trade with China, both in import and export, fell, causing a commercial drop at the beginning of the year. European companies, commercial partners in Japan, affected by the virus, had their production affected. This had a ripple effect on Japanese trade with Europe.
Japanese pharmaceutical companies do not expect a major impact, but other industries are being severely affected. Japanese auto companies like Toyota and Mazda for example, closed temporarily during the outbreak. Honda has also taken action against this problem, three of its plants in Wuhan have been closed.
Reports say that companies like Laox are asking many employees aged 40 or over, with at least two years in the company, to opt for early retirement.
Affected tourism in Japan
Tourism moves much of Japan’s economy, and as expected, it will be greatly affected. The country receives a large number of visitors, mostly from South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong. Many travel cancellations have been recorded, and much more is expected. Foreign visitors to Japan have already dropped 1.1% in January 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
Japan Airlines, a Japanese airline, admitted that due to the situation and the many cancellations its revenues would be seriously affected. The coronavirus outbreak is estimated to cause about $ 1.29 billion in damage to Japanese tourism in the first quarter of 2020 alone.
The losses would be even greater if one considers maritime tourism. Disney has already said that Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea will be temporarily closed as a preventive measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
What about the Japan Olympics?
The Tokyo Olympics in 2020 would have an estimated cost of up to $ 16.8 billion. Much is questioned at the moment whether or not it should be done. The event is scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9, followed by the Paralympic Games from August 25 to September 6. In a survey conducted by Kyodo News, a Japanese news agency, showed that about 70% of Japanese people do not want the event to be held on the date originally planned.
Some are the possibilities, the first would be the total cancellation of the games. This would bring several losses for all involved, both the government, institutions and companies that have some relationship with the event. If that happened, we would only have another Olympics in 2024, in Paris.
Another possibility would be to postpone it to another date, some months or years from now. That was a proposal made publicly by the President of the United States, Donald Trump. However, this would involve several factors, such as changing the calendars of sports federations’ events, and changes in the networks of television networks.
In addition to the cost for Japan to keep sports facilities and Olympic Villages closed. Another alternative would be to transfer to another country, but that would be the most difficult change to make.
Everyone loses, regardless of the decision, if the Olympics are not held in the established period, the most affected will be Japan. For example, much of the investment in construction and renovation of facilities would be lost, in addition to many contracts for building operation in the event of the event being canceled. In the specialized press, this figure is already over 28 billion dollars.
Companies like Coca-Cola, Alibaba, Toyota, Visa, among others have already invested in sponsorships worth more than US $ 1.5 billion. And more than $ 3 million has been invested by companies like Google and Canon on the Tokyo Organizing Committee.
Fences of 400,000 foreign tourists were expected in Japan, of which 4.5 million tickets have already been sold, which would bring Japan around 2 billion euros in stays during the event. Some 4.2 billion dollars were received from TV stations to have the broadcast rights. And as already mentioned, changes in the event would cause major problems in this area.
Other events in Japan
Let’s wait for the whole situation to unfold. We very much hope that this pandemic condition will end soon. Not only Japan, but all affected countries are looking for improvement.
- Anime Japan 2020 and Family Anime Festa 2020 events were canceled because of the coronavirus;
- The Anime Geek edition scheduled for May 2nd and 3rd will no longer be held;
- The Tokyo Anime Award Festival 2020 (TAAF2020) has also canceled all programs scheduled for March 13-16, 2020. It has not yet been announced how, but everyone who wants to, can request a refund of the tickets;
- Anime production takes place with closed-door studios to prevent further outbreaks of contamination. Many of these studios work in the form of cells, where each part of the anime is made in a different location or region;
- A commercial has been launched in Japan, where characters from the One Piece anime warn people about the precautions they should take due to the coronavirus outbreak, so that it does not spread further.
Have you read our article on virus anime and epidemics?
We plan to update this article with more information soon! Thanks for reading!