With a month to go till the Tokyo Olympics and a state of emergency freshly lifted in a lot of the nation, Japan is seeing comparatively low coronavirus case counts after a surge final month. However the nation’s low vaccination price, particularly in contrast with different wealthy nations, and variants on the rise there have prompted some public health experts in current weeks to express concerns concerning the Video games or name for them to be canceled.

As athletes and coaches from virtually each nation on the planet put together to descend on Japan, the place tens of thousands of residents will work at or attend the Video games, simply 7 p.c of the nation’s residents are absolutely vaccinated, in contrast with round 1 / 4 of the inhabitants or extra in most different wealthy nations. About 18 p.c have obtained no less than one shot, rating Japan’s vaccination price among the many lowest of its friends and leaving the inhabitants susceptible at a time when the Delta variant is on the rise and predicted to become dominant.

Japan’s low vaccination price

Share of all residents who’re absolutely vaccinated

Amongst richest 50 nations

Amongst richest 50 nations

Amongst richest 50 nations

Supply: Our World in Knowledge, World Financial institution

As circumstances surged towards a brand new peak in April and more-contagious variants started to take maintain, the Japanese authorities declared a third state of emergency for Tokyo and different areas, ultimately totaling 10 prefectures. This weekend, as circumstances continued to fall, Japan ended the emergency measures in most prefectures however will preserve some focused restrictions in Tokyo and elsewhere. The states of emergency weren’t as strict as the entire lockdowns seen in another nations however meant eating places have been requested to shorten their hours, some procuring malls and film theaters have been requested to shut and institutions have been banned from promoting alcohol.

Japan has managed to maintain circumstances comparatively low all through the pandemic in contrast with different wealthy nations, although variants have made current outbreaks more durable to manage. Even then, Japan’s peak in reported circumstances in Could was comparatively low when adjusted for its inhabitants of 128 million, though Japan examined at a a lot decrease price than different nations. At its peak, Japan was reporting almost 6,500 new coronavirus circumstances a day, on common, or about 5 new reported circumstances per day per 100,000 individuals. The US, in contrast, reported greater than 76 new circumstances per day per 100,000 at its worst level in January.

New circumstances in Japan per day, seven-day common

April 1,

Jan. 1,

June 21,




April 7

First state of emergency declared.

Jan. 7

Second state of emergency declared.

April 23

Third state of emergency declared.

June 20

Emergency measures eased.



6,000 circumstances

Supply: Heart for Techniques Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins College

Up to now, about one in each 161 individuals in Japan has examined optimistic for the virus. In the USA, as an illustration, that determine is about one in 10. Japan’s comparatively low case depend by way of the pandemic suggests the nation’s degree of pure immunity can be a lot decrease than many different nations on the planet.

Japan, like a couple of other countries which have fared comparatively properly all through the pandemic, has had among the many slowest vaccine rollouts of wealthy nations. One purpose for the lagging begin is that the nation requires its personal home vaccine trials, so Japan solely approved its first vaccine, the Pfizer shot, greater than two months after the UK and United States had finished so.

Consultants additionally say the federal government failed to negotiate contracts that may have led to early vaccine doses, maybe as a result of its earlier success containing the virus led to a diminished sense of urgency round vaccines.

However with the Olympics on the horizon and strain mounting — a poll in May discovered greater than 80 p.c of Japanese individuals surveyed didn’t need their residence nation to host the Video games this summer season — the Japanese vaccine marketing campaign has sped up in current weeks. After administering fewer than 100,000 doses a day in April, on common, Japan is now administering almost a million pictures per day.

After having used simply Pfizer for the primary months of the vaccine marketing campaign, the federal government approved two extra vaccines, Moderna and AstraZeneca, in late Could. Of the 2, solely Moderna has been used thus far inside the nation. And on June 17, all Japanese adults became eligible to obtain a primary vaccine shot at state-run websites. Till then, solely these 65 and older might get vaccinated.

Japan’s vaccination marketing campaign is rushing up

Feb. 17

June 21

Could 21

Authorities authorizes Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. Pfizer was already out there.

April 12

These 65 and older turn out to be eligible for the vaccine.

Feb. 17

Two months after many different nations, Japan administers the primary pictures of the Covid vaccine to well being care staff.

A minimum of
one dose






Supply: Our World in Knowledge

In mild of the accelerating vaccine rollout and declining coronavirus caseload, organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have determined to allow domestic spectators to attend the Video games, with a cap of as much as 10,000 followers per venue. Nonetheless, the general public just isn’t satisfied: A ballot over the weekend showed that 86 p.c of these surveyed fear that there will likely be a rebound in circumstances as soon as the Olympics are staged.