The World Health Organization announced on June 28 that the number of patients with the new crown disease exceeded 10 million and the death toll was nearly 500,000. As of the 28th, the number of patients in Japan was 18,584 (equivalent to 0.7% of that in the United States), and 972 had died.
According to the “Asahi Shimbun” report, the probability of contracting the new crown disease in Japan is less than 0.02%. Tokyo is higher, reaching 0.05%. The mortality rate after infection is 5% in Japan. In other words, there is a 0.05% chance of contracting the new crown disease in Tokyo, and a 5% chance of death among those infected. Speaking of which, the rate of illness and death after illness is not high, but it is a matter of personal life, and the virus is invisible. It can be said that the new crown is changing in Japan.
Viruses can change society to a great extent. After the Black Death (plague) became widespread in Europe in the 14th century, the prisons under the control of the church and the supervision and enforcement departments for maintaining social order began to differentiate, forming a modern prison and police system. After the outbreak of the epidemic, Japanese public opinion that particularly emphasized privacy and autonomy began to call on the state to retain more functions to restrict private rights. Instead, the state hesitated in centralizing power.
Japan is a country with a very developed information and communication technology (IT). The penetration rate of mobile phones and the proficiency of consumers in using mobile phones are both high. However, after the outbreak of the epidemic, neither health codes nor software showing travel trajectories have been popularized. It is not that it cannot be developed, but the importance of protecting personal information is much higher than the health and safety of the entire country.
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in charge of health also recommended a software. This software can trace people diagnosed with COVID-19, as well as people who spent more than 15 minutes with him in a certain period of time in the past. After the confirmed patient is contained, relevant personnel can be alerted. The software uses mobile phone Bluetooth technology to automatically record contact with others through Bluetooth. The data is huge and the processing is quite cumbersome. Within three days of implementation, the software itself has begun to be full of loopholes.
In Tokyo, 54 people were diagnosed a day on June 26, 57 people on the 27th, and 60 people on the 28th. Public opinion expects the central government or Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to declare a state of emergency again. The media values ”human rights” and “privacy” and opposes the development of mobile tracking software. When problems need to be solved, they have changed their hopes on the conservative ruling Liberal Democratic Party and on the right-wing governor Yuriko Koike who is very serious. Instead, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Governor Koike are now acting very cautiously. They have been unable to make a decision on declaring an emergency again and declaring that Tokyo is on guard.
When the population is 1/3 of that of the United States and the number of patients is only 0.7% of that of the United States, the Japanese opposition party particularly emphasizes the role of the state in protecting people’s lives and makes a posture that is more concerned about people’s lives than the Liberal Democratic Party. The harm caused by the new crown virus to Japan is definitely not as serious as in European and American countries, but it can definitely make Japan more centralized. When people’s lives need people’s self-protection, Japanese public opinion, opposition parties, and the ruling party want to use the state to implement policies to protect lives and strengthen the country’s ruling power.
People do not see the health code in Japanese society. Most people refuse to use electronic money. Everyone knows that electronic transactions, food delivery, and express delivery can play an effective role in avoiding the new crown infection, but at the same time, everyone is unwilling to promote it. The final result is to make the country more powerful and retain the rule of the people.
The chaos caused by the impact of the new crown in Japanese society has given the Japanese country a huge ability to restrict private rights in addition to wars and natural disasters when an epidemic occurs. Will this increasingly concentrated state power return to normal after the epidemic ends?