Great news out of Japan: covid cases are way down.
Perhaps the starkest illustration for Aussies was to see massive Tokyo record less daily cases this week than little old Canberra – on Monday Tokyo had 49 new cases, versus 51 in the ACT on Wednesday. Tokyo Prefecture has nearly 14 million people, versus 462,000 for the ACT – 30 times more, so pro rata if infection rates were the same Tokyo would have 1,470 cases.
Fortunately fears of a huge post-Olympics generated wave of covid infections overwhelming the Japanese health system proved wildly exaggerated.
Sure, the numbers spiked up a couple of months ago and over summer, but nowhere near out of control.
As their vaccine program has really kicked in, along with the acceptance (built up over many years) of mask wearing in crowded areas like public transport, the spike in cases has dropped as quickly as it rose.
The new Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio told the Diet (parliement) this week that the government will intensively support the development of home-grown vaccines and medications.
“To deal with powerful mutations and new infectious diseases, we will offer intensive support for research and development on an industry-government-academia basis. We’ll offer support for domestically developed vaccines. We’ll also work to improve the clinical trial environment and set up production bases, and speed up the approval process for COVID-related products.”
Kishida added that the government aims to finish inoculations for all those who want them by early November.
That augurs well for opening up and a resumption of international tourism opportunities including of course snow travel sooner rather than later.
Already some prefectures are offering incentives to the fully vaccinated to visit them.
As we mentioned last year Japan has long offered some of the covid-safest ski opportunities in the World, with zero cases in some prefectures home to excellent ski resorts.
That remains true as the 2021-2022 snow season rapidly approaches. Nagano Prefecture has been recording a handful of cases at all lately, Niigata just 1 case yesterday, and only 20 or so daily in Hokkaido.
As Australia looks set to open up at least Sydney/NSW to international travel as early as November 1st, with a 7 day home quarantine requirement on return, we are waiting on Japan to update it’s own travel advice. For now, it’s paused – check the latest details on the link here.