State of emergency

I thought, I had successfully fled lock down situations when arriving in Japan last November. I thought wrong. Japan declared its second state of emergency as of yesterday (Jan 8) until Feb 7.

Compared to Switzerland, the numbers are still much lower and people voluntarily wear masks whenever stepping in front of their house door, but the medical system already seems strained and with the postponed Olympics ahead, I guess they want to do the most to keep the situation under control.

Here some statistics from the StopCovid19 website of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (the numbers are for Tokyo only but keep in mind that there are more people living in Tokyo than in the whole of Switzerland):

In Tokyo, the state of emergency declaration will mean the following:

  • Residents are requested to refrain from leaving the home unnecessarily and even more so after 8pm. As examples for necessary outings they list: go to a medical facility, shopping for groceries and daily needs, go to work (if needed), do sports or be outdoors.
  • Residents are asked to work from home if possible. Somewhere I read that they would like to have 70% of the work force working from at home or at least not commuting into their offices.
  • Bars and restaurants are asked (not forced!) to close by eight in the evening and stop serving alcohol by seven pm. Take out and home delivery still allowed.
  • Event and sport locations such as theaters, cinemas, museums, galleries, libraries, public spaces of hotels etc. should limit their capacity by at least 50% and to a maximum of 5000 people. Additionally they are also asked to close at 8pm.

In contrast to the first state of emergency in spring last year, they do not close the schools.

To only ask the residents and companies to refrain from doing certain activites, works here much better than in Switzerland. Social control seems much stronger here and I have the impression that in Switzerland we focus on what they ask of us and how this limits one’s own freedom whereas here the focus is more about what you can do as an individual to protect the society or what you can do to avoid being responsible for spreading the virus and endanger the people around you.

Up to now, my life here did not feel very restricted apart from having to constantly wear a mask when out of home. I’m curious how the above mentioned measures will impact on my daily life.

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