Tokyo (AP) — Cases of coronavirus infection have reached daily records in Tokyo, the current venue for the Olympic Games. The Government of Japan has declared the capital and several other areas under “state of emergency” during the Games. What does that mean in the midst of these global sporting events? Here is the summary.
What is the state of emergency in Japan?
It does not mean a blockade. In fact, Japan has never been blocked. Its “emergency” measures focus on closing bars and restaurants early.
Alcohol is restricted in the latest emergencies, which have been extended until the end of August. This measure has been widely criticized for arbitrarily targeting unscientific sectors. Some facilities ignore requests and remain open. Theaters and clubs limit the size of the crowd.
So, are the measures not working?
Some people say so. The fourth emergency in Japan continued this year. Some cynics are wondering how the possible emergencies became new and normal. Violated businesses can be technically fined, but such behavior is rare.
The government encouraged people to stay home, stay socially distant, and wear masks. Japan is generally a very orderly and adaptable country. However, the commuter trains are still full and the city of Tokyo is crowded with people wearing masks. For many Japanese “salarymen” and “salarymen,” working from home is not a viable option.
The Olympics didn’t help exactly. As Japan has the potential to win more gold medals than ever before, people are gathering at sports bars to cheer on teams and shop to buy Olympic equipment.
But does the game have to continue?
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the recent surge in incidents had nothing to do with the Olympics. Olympic athletes are tested daily. Fans are not allowed on the tournament stands and only team members, media and guests can participate.
Despite repeated warnings from medical professionals about health risks, Kan’s reputation has plummeted as questions about his explicit decision to host the Olympics have risen.
What are the health risks?
Vaccine deployment in Japan has been delayed among developed countries, with about a quarter of the population being completely vaccinated so far. The rate is lower in Tokyo.
Japan is completely dependent on imported vaccines. About 15,000 COVID-related deaths have occurred in Japan. The number of new cases reported daily in Tokyo reached 3,865 on Thursday, marking the third consecutive day of record.
Can you support Japanese Olympic athletes?
Critics say the government’s message is confusing. Despite being told that people are at home, Japan is running a big festival that brings together tens of thousands of athletes, corporate sponsors and other senior officials from more than 200 countries.
Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo, rejected the idea that the Olympics could lead to the spread of infectious diseases and urged people to watch the Olympics on television with family and close friends. “The Olympics have helped increase the proportion of people at home,” she said.
Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama. Other AP Olympics: https: //apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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Explainer: Details of Japan’s New COVID Emergency | WGN Radio 720
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