PM Suga focuses on economics despite Covid-19 fears: Travel campaign extended

PM Suga focuses on economics despite Covid-19 fears: Travel campaign extended

Kanako Mita and Sawako Utsumi

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is focused on economics first rather than pushing back on the “Go To Travel” campaign. Indeed, if reports are accurate, then the travel campaign will be extended until the middle of 2021.

This comes at a time of growing coronavirus (Covid-19) infections in several parts of the country. Equally, greater strain on the health care system is happening in the worst-hit areas.

Discounts may gradually be reduced in the travel sector but encouraging tourism remains an important part of Suga’s economic stimulus. Hence, for workers in areas blighted by the coronavirus, the psychological stress of commuting will remain high.

Yuriko Koike, the Governor of Tokyo, is requesting vulnerable groups and people aged over 65 to refrain from tourism for a few weeks. Hence, Koike is expecting the recent daily new highs of coronavirus infections to come down. If not, another similar request will follow.

The overall economy of Japan – just like countless other nations hit by the coronavirus crisis – is expected to contract when complete figures are announced for 2020. Thus, the leader of Japan, unlike nations hit the hardest, is focused on keeping the economy ticking.

However, the travel campaign is a double-edged sword because people from regions hit hard may spread the virus to other parts of the country. In this sense, it appears that Suga is taking a gamble even if various prefectures are taking independent measures.

The surreal nature of coronavirus continues in Japan whereby many people are worried about the crisis. Yet, at the same time, tens of millions have gone on holiday and been encouraged to eat at restaurants. Therefore, while many hospitals are worried about the increasing number of new infections, it is economics first for the Suga administration.

https://stopcovid19.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/en/ – Tokyo Metropolitan Government website for updates about the coronavirus crisis in Tokyo.

https://toyokeizai.net/sp/visual/tko/covid19/en.html – Japan and Tokyo Covid-19 news with more analysis

https://covid19japan.com/ – Japan regional coronavirus statistics

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ World coronavirus statistics

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