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No.63
No.63, Discussions, Society  Mar. 2, 2021

What Does “Quality” Mean for Tourism

Shimoji Yoshiro, Chairman of the Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau (OCVB) Interviewed by Yamada Yuichi, General Manager of the Tourism Research Department, Japan Travel Bureau Foundation on October 7, 2020 Developments in Okinawa tourism from spring to September 2020 Yamada Yuichi: Please tell us about developments in Okinawa tourism over the last few months. Shimoji Yoshiro: There was nothing we could do about the national emergency declaration in April and May, but in June and July when we’d finally started to recover, infection spread in an unexpected place, namely nightlife districts. Okinawa has been susceptible to infectious disease due to our social environment. Historically, we have many children and elderly people who often interact, and this was the case during previous epidemics of new strains of influenza or measles. It is a weakness with no solution and we have gone on with 20 or ... ... [Read more]

No.63
No.63, Society  Feb. 4, 2021

“Strong Societies” and “Weak Societies” in the Face of Infectious Diseases: Lessons from the Second Wave—COVID-19 attacks the broken parts of society

Oshitani Hitoshi, Professor, Department of Virology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine   Since June, Japan has experienced a COVID-19 “second wave” of considerable magnitude. This was expected to a certain extent, given that people’s movements have not been forcibly restricted as they were in the earlier state of emergency. However, its scale exceeded expectations. Since the peaking of the second wave in late July, the rate of decline has been slower than the first wave in April and May. Eventually, rates of new cases stopped declining and the number of cases began to rise in some prefectures, along with a gradual increase in the number of deaths. The source of the second wave is believed to have been Tokyo, the scale of the outbreak at the source so large that it left an impact across the country. The mechanism by which COVID-19 becomes ... ... [Read more]

No.62
No.62, Society  Jan. 11, 2021

Osaka Naomi’s BLM Activism Wins More Worldwide Respect Than Her US Open Victory

Watanabe Yuko, consultant, freelance writer     On September 12, 2020, Osaka Naomi won her second US Open women’s singles title, a victory which clinched her third Grand Slam title. Her opponent in the final was former world number one Victoria Azarenka. After losing the first set in a nightmare start, Osaka recovered brilliantly to turn the match around and triumph. This dramatic comeback also caused a sensation, as it was the first time in 26 years the women’s final was won by the player who lost the first set.  On September 13, the day after her victory, the New York Times featured a large photograph of Osaka and sang her praises across two pages. The headline of the article read “Naomi Osaka, While Rallying for Social Justice, Wins U.S. Open Title.” I cannot remember the last time the face of a Japanese – politician or sportsperson – ... ... [Read more]

No.62
No.62, Society  Nov. 16, 2020

We Are Approaching the Limits of Having Only Policies that Preserve Employment!: The Largest Number of People Taking a Leave of Absence Since World War II—What Has Happened in the Labor Market?

Genda Yuji, Professor, University of Tokyo Only a Slight Increase in Unemployment in April When the declaration of a state of emergency was issued for all of Japan due to the spread of COVID-19 in April 2020, the survival of many companies was in jeopardy and the Japanese workplace faced unprecedented difficulties. Job opportunities collapsed and there was concern that we might see workers lose their jobs and struggle to survive. According to the Labor Force Survey by the Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, released at the end of May, the number of workers across Japan was reduced by 1.07 million (seasonally adjusted) in just one month from March to April when infections rapidly spread. As a great reduction from the previous month since May 1953 when comparisons can be made, it was second to the 1.13 million workers from January ... ... [Read more]

No.61
No.61, Society  Oct. 27, 2020

Infectious Disease and Civilization in the Twenty-first Century: Invisible Calamities Attack Modernity and the Spirit of Civil Virtue Developed by the Japanese People

Yamazaki Masakazu, Playwright and Critic   Editor’s note: Professor Yamazaki Masakazu passed away on August 19, 2020. This article, written in early May 2020, is published in translation here with the permission of the bereaved family and the original publisher. Going back to a previous time in world history The current spread of COVID-19 can be considered a “historic” event in two senses. Firstly, of course, it is an epoch-making tragedy and turning point in contemporary history, because the epidemic is likely to have a lasting influence on future civilization. Secondly, and of greater significance, the tragedy pours cold water on the hidden arrogance of modern people, and we can imagine it encouraging a return to the human civilization of the past: a time when urban civilization arose. The epoch that we call the “modern age” has had a number of stages—and as humanity ... ... [Read more]

No.61
No.61, Society  Oct. 15, 2020

The Way Forward Is “Shorter, Cheaper, and Closer to Home”: The Tourism Industry Will Recover Even Without Inbound Tourism!

Hoshino Yoshiharu, CEO, Hoshino Resorts   One of the industries most severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic has been the tourism industry. Some small and medium-sized traditional inns have even gone bankrupt, so what can be done to revive the tourism industry? Bungeishunju asked HoshinoYoshiharu, CEO of Hoshino Resorts, who is the manager of luxury traditional inns and hotels.   The declaration of a state of emergency was lifted and travel across prefectural borders was once again permitted starting on June 19, so people are gradually returning to the tourist attractions. The tourism industry lost a major market in the so-called Golden Week due to the COVID-19 outbreak, so it’s positive that this development started speeding up ahead of the important summer season. It felt like there was a glimmer of hope. The number of reservations for the facilities we run in Japan are ... ... [Read more]

No.61
No.61, Society  Oct. 5, 2020

Three Researchers Entrusted with the Nation’s Fate: Document Novel Coronavirus “Expert Meeting”― Four Months of Struggling Against the People and the Government

Hirono Shinji, nonfiction writer   He has a quick pace. Oshitani Hitoshi (61), Professor at the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine and the man who has contin ued to work these four months focused on Japan’s COVID-19 measures, is said to have gone mountain climbing 100 days a year while as a student and member of the alpine club, and even today is said to do so 50 days a year. He is a good walker. I finally caught him on May 21 at the Central Government Building No. 8, located diagonally across from the Prime Minister’s Official Residence. Oshitani, who had just come out of the meeting room right after a meeting of the Advisory Committee on the Basic Action Policy that had finished the government’s policy on the lifting of the state of emergency for 42 prefectures, stuck to his position ... ... [Read more]

No.61
No.61, Society  Sept. 30, 2020

“Rebooting Memories”: Creating “Flow” and Inheriting Memories from Colorized Photographs

Niwata Anju and Watanave Hidenori   When visualizing the colors that photographs should have had, the impressions of “freezing” in black-and-white photographs are “rebooted,” and viewers can more easily imagine the events depicted. This bridges the psychological gap between past events and modern daily life, sparking conversations.     The “reality”[i] of past events, such as wars and disasters, are multifaceted, holding the viewpoints of different people. Digital archives, which include different types of accurate materials, are an important basis for conveying these “realities.” However, it has been verified that these digital archives are still not being fully utilized[ii]. To address this issue, we must draw public attention to the value of these archived materials and create motivation for their use. Modern society discovered the value of “flow” creation through appropriate information design and sparking communication, in addition to the “stocked” data itself[iii]. Therefore, ... ... [Read more]

No.61
No.61, Society  Sept. 25, 2020

The History of Infectious Disease in Japan: Origins of the World’s Best Hygiene Awareness — The Mysterious Relationship between the Japanese and the God of Pestilence

Isoda Michifumi, Associate Professor, International Research Center for Japanese Studies   The authority of the Emperor of Japan as well as the rituals at Ise Jingu shrine have their beginnings in infectious disease. Today, people in Japan have a high awareness of hygiene. This advantage has contributed much to overcoming the current wave of COVID-19. How did this amazing public health competency develop among the people of Japan? To consider this question, we need to look back at history. The story starts 1,700 years ago. Emperor Sujin (97–30 BCE) is thought to be the tenth in the imperial line after Emperor Jimmu (660–585 BCE), the first emperor who may actually have existed. This is what Inoue Mitsusada (1917–83), an authority on the ancient history of Japan at the University of Tokyo who compiled the postwar history textbooks, says in Nihon no rekishi 1: Shinwa ... ... [Read more]

No.60
No.60, Discussions, Society  Sept. 18, 2020

Udo Yumiko’s My Fair Person: What Can Be Seen from the COVID-19 LINE Survey―Miyata Hiroaki, Professor, School of Medicine, Department of Health Policy and Management of Keio University

UDO Yumiko vs Prof. MIYATA Hiroaki   Udo Yumiko: Nice to meet you, Professor Miyata. This is my first time talking online with someone that I’ve never met in person before. Professor Miyata Hiroaki: I’m honored!   Udo: Professor Miyata, you proposed the “Early SNS-Based Monitoring System for the COVID-19 Outbreak in Japan: A Population-Level Observational Study,” gathered massive amounts of health data from many people, and continue with efforts that utilize the next move in COVID-19 measures in cooperation with local governments and the Cluster Response Team of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW). Miyata: Of the approximately 83 million LINE users in Japan, we received responses from about 25 million during the first survey, held from March 31 to April 1. With a response rate of about one-third, it was the second largest survey in Japanese history, excluding the national ... ... [Read more]