Japanese head of government Yoshihide Suga at a press conference on the health crisis in Tokyo on December 25.

The procrastination of the Japanese government in the face of the slow but gradual resurgence of Covid-19 weakens it, threatens the healthcare system and undermines the image of a country mastering a pandemic whose results, admittedly limited in comparison with France, Monday, December 28, stood at 222,093 cases and 3,287 deaths.

Since mid-October, the Archipelago has been experiencing a third wave of contaminations stronger than those of spring and summer. Despite the strictness of the Japanese in wearing masks or respecting distancing rules, the country records nearly 4,000 new cases daily, against less than 3,000 in mid-December and a maximum of 1,500 at the height of the waves. previous ones. All this while the first vaccinations should not take place before the end of February, two months after Europe.

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The discovery of seven cases of the new variant of Covid-19, adds to the growing concern. She pushed the government to ban the entry of foreign visitors from December 28 to January 31, a decision criticized on social media. The authorities are criticized for acting quickly to close the borders but delay in stemming the spread of the virus at the national level.

Mismanagement of the pandemic has plunged the government’s popularity rating from 16 points to 42% according to a December 27 poll by the daily Nihon keizai, and goes so far as to question the holding of the Tokyo Olympics planned for the summer of 2021. According to a survey in mid-December by the public channel NHK, 63% of those questioned pleaded for a cancellation or a new postponement of JO, against 48% in October.

Focus on maintaining the economy

It was not until December 25 that the head of government, Yoshihide Suga, who took office in September, gave his first press conference on the health crisis. “I would like to ask the population to have a calm end of the year and a New Year”, he said while acknowledging that “If nothing is done, we will not be able to prevent a further spread of infections”. The government could legislate in January to sanction companies that do not respect requests for temporary closure in the event of a health crisis.

These announcements do not, however, make us forget that Mr. Suga had to apologize for having participated in a dinner with ten guests in a restaurant in the chic district of Ginza when he had recommended to the population to avoid meals in more than five. His defense minister, Nobuo Kishi, did the same after the contamination was announced during a party by the chief of staff of the navy and his deputy.

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