Journey to Japan: An exclusive look at a country pulling off the Olympics during pandemic – Fresno, California

Fresno, California 2021-07-23 20:30:54 –

Many times, my journey leads me to a story. This time the journey is a story.

This is the first time we’ve been on an airplane since our world suddenly changed, and we’ve learned how fragile life is. We headed to Japan, a difficult country to host the Olympics, as Delta variants rage around the world.

To board the plane, the COVID test must be negative and will be retested as soon as you land. At the airport, we repeated interviews, filled out multiple forms, and placed the tracking app on our mobile phones. It took less than four hours to be released and we noticed that we were at a vacant airport.

Isolated in a hotel room. My photographer, Dylan, turned his room into a studio for zoom interviews, and mine was used for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Only room service was allowed, except that they were taken to the hospital for a COVID test once a day. Many times a day we sent phone calls or text messages to confirm our location.

We talked to Mr. Isosei Shimohara, a Japanese COVID expert who teaches numbers. The infection rate in Japan in the first week of July was positive for 8 per 100,000. This is a crisis.

Interestingly, the United States has deteriorated more than three times at the same time, but we celebrated masklessly with all our might while Japan declared a state of emergency. Even more surprising, our mortality rate is 16 times that of Japan, despite the very large elderly population.

What surprised me was that they did not order a lockdown because of their “private rights.” They simply ask the public to obey the rules-and they do. Here, COVID is not politicized. The leader is trusted. The rules are respected and catastrophes are avoided.

The biggest hurdle in Japan is vaccination. Supply and delivery issues plagued the country early on. On my visit, only 13 percent of the population was vaccinated. But now it’s moving fast.

“The doses from 1.2 to 1.4 are much faster than everyone expected,” said Taro Kono, minister in charge of vaccination.
Mr. Kono is in charge of the vaccination program in Japan and is optimistic for the fall.

“By then, I think we need to deal with COVID-19, which will allow us to reopen the economy,” he said.

I can’t come right away. Yumi Kume runs a taxi business that specializes in tours, such as exploring the works of Olympic architect Kengo Kuma. Her business could grow explosively, but COVID changed everything.

“It’s totally different. I’m usually busy and I can’t see the floor, but today it’s so empty that I’m curious,” says Kume.

Sensoji Temple is crowded with shoppers and tourists, but now the shops that have been here for generations are closed.

Like the United States, Japan is suffering. That’s why many people here don’t want the Olympics. What they want is the end of this nightmare.

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