This week, here in Tokyo, we saw Prime Minister Abe speak before the nation, telling them that there will be an extension of the State of Emergency, from May 6 to May 31, but it comes with some restrictions relaxed. This was evident when we walked down the shopping streets near our home and a pet ship, hat shop and several up-market food stores were actually booming with business.
Japanese are a nation who wear masks, and practice social distancing, they are handling it well. However, when we look at the robust Japanese medical system, we see many beds and qualified doctors. However for emergency patients and intensive care units, Japan falls behind. For example, Germany has 30 beds per 100,000 of the population, with the US at 35 beds, Italy at 12 beds and Japan at 5 beds. And there are stories of pregnant women and older Japanese being turned away from hospitals.
Prime Minster Abe is cautiously opening the country, while the number of bankruptcies increase. He has offered cash to those who stay home but allows some shops and stores to open for business, with some rules that are to be followed. However, he did point out, while he addressed the nation, that the number of patients in intensive care was increasing and the system medical system was under some stress.
Japan is a nation that endures earthquakes, tsunamis, and with 80 percent covered with mountains, also landslides and more. They are accustomed to living under pressure, they will get through COVID-19 in the coming weeks and months.