The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR), a non-partisan, security policy institute, presents two recorded podcasts on Japan’s response to COVID-19. The episodes feature Dr. Tomoya Saito, the director of the Department of Health Crisis Management at Japan’s National Institute of Public Health and has extensive experience in emergency preparedness and response, health surveillance, and biosecurity; along with Ambassador Nobuyasu Abe, who served as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs and as a Commissioner of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission.
The podcasts discuss several aspects of Japan’s response to COVID-19 that appear to have contributed to a degree of success in limiting the spread of the virus. Japan focused intensely on early detection to gain an understanding of COVID-19 clusters and how focusing on them could help limit its transmission. The programs also focus on communication and transparency between the government and the public via Japan’s “Avoid the Three C’s” campaign, designed to urge the public to avoid closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact. Japan’s pre-existing mask wearing culture was also a factor in dealing with the virus.
In Episode 2, the discussion further explores several specific lessons that demonstrate the potential for strong pandemic prevention and response, including Japan’s early detection of infection patterns, the early establishment of effective contact tracing, along with cluster-busting strategies, and the roles of health centers in communities around Japan.
The podcasts are available on the Council on Strategic Risks' website and their YouTube channel.