As reported last time, the Japanese government set up New Coronavirus Emergency Response H.Q. on February 13 to create and implement top-down and nationwide action plans to contain the New Coronavirus.
On February 26, PM Abe, who heads the emergency response organization publicly announced that the government requests large event organizers to cancel, postpone or scale down their events that were originally scheduled to be held on or after February 26 through March 15.
“Considering the significance of preventing further spread of the new coronavirus infection within a week or two, we make this request because national sport and cultural events as well as entertainment events do pose large scale infection risks” said PM Abe at the meeting of the New Coronavirus Emergency Response H.Q.
Now, almost all the concerts of well-known musicians are cancelled, and J-League (professional soccer league) as well as Top-League (semi-professional rugby league) have decided to postpone their individual regular games.
The Japanese professional baseball league has decided to hold its preseason games as scheduled, but without spectators.
Now, the Japan Sumo Association is internally discussing if it should either hold the regular bimonthly sumo tournament as scheduled to start on March 8 in Osaka, or hold it without spectators or cancel it.
There are 214 people infected in Japan as of February 27.
Besides, there are 705 infected people from the cruise ship “Diamond Princess”.
On the following day of PM Abe’s announcement of the request to cancel, postpone or downsize large events on February 26, he made another public announcement on the 27th that his administration requests that all the elementary, junior high and high schools as well as special support schools be closed from March 2 through the end of spring break, which is normally the end of March or early April.
Although PM Abe explained this request as a critically important preventative countermeasure to contain the infectious disease, the media reported that this request was not originally positioned in the New Coronavirus Emergency Response H.Q.'s basic plan of countermeasures, so the action somewhat represents the administration’s upset response against the public criticism that the government’s initiative is slow and weak.
The media also reports that this announcement shows the administration’s strong intent to conduct the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as scheduled in July by showing the world its commitment to contain the coronavirus as swiftly as possible.
This all-of-a-sudden announcement is making parents, who have school children and have a daytime job think about how to take care of their children for this relatively long period.
In the wake of the government announcement of the request to close schools throughout Japan, major companies are now beginning to allow some or most of their employees to stay home and do telework so that they can take care of their small children at home.
Some employees do have to come to the office where customers’ sensitive information is stored, or for meeting with their clients.
For those employees, their employers are allowing them to arrive at office late and leave office early so that they can avoid packed train cars.
Impact of the affected Chinese supply chain is now felt by the Japanese auto industry.
Nissan, who depends on Chinese auto parts supply most is temporarily closing a couple of its factories due to the lack of parts supply from China.
The other car companies are also reviewing their production schedule due to the unavailability of parts supply from China.
The Japanese auto industry imported auto parts worth 328.5 billion yen ($3 billion) from China last year, which accounts for a 40% of its total imports.
Takanami, a Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force’s destroyer arrived in the northern part of the Arabic Sea, and started information gathering mission on February 26, Yomiuri reported.
Together with the two P-3Cs that had been deployed since last month, Takanami, with around 200 crews and two ASW helicopters, will operate the mission to secure the route of Japanese commercial ships in the high seas of the northern part of the Arabic Sea and Oman Bay.
Takanami will stay in the area for around 4 months, and then replaced by another crew of destroyer.
Please watch the New Coronavirus, and enjoy your weekend!