As of March 29, 2020, 1,800 people infected with the new type of coronavirus have been recorded in Japan, of which 55 succumbed to the illness. That's a very good track record, considering that the country, which has 130 million inhabitants, is relatively close to the epicentre of the pandemic. Moreover, it is a country with a high number of old people - out of 130 million, over 20 million inhabitants are over 65 years old. Yet Japan is still far less affected than other countries with a younger population. Why is that? We need to look for the answer in the very temperament of the Japanese.
We've always considered Japanese tourists to be somewhat amusing, when they rolled out of the bus with their cameras and face masks. Did you also silently wonder why they have those face masks on all the time? Can't they handle the car fumes? Or are they afraid they might catch something from us? Are they themselves sick? Back then, no one would have imagined that one day, we'd be wearing them too. What's more, the Japanese are one of those we should learn from today. Not only how to deal with aggressive viruses, but above all how to behave.
The core Asian values include modesty, devotion, and a desire for harmony. Moreover, the Japanese themselves are characterized by diligence and precision. They behave politely, respectfully and thoughtfully. Japan is one of the places where the ideas of the Chinese scholar Confucius have been disseminated since ancient times, emphasizing strict discipline to oneself and kindness to others. Moreover, the Japanese temperament is characterized by respect for old age.
Simply put, the Japanese practise solidarity. It is common there, that if someone develops signs of illness, they will automatically put on a face mask. In addition, they are responsible and comply with all regulations that apply to them. Both from their superiors and the government.
The lack of face masks and other protective equipment is currently a worldwide problem. But Japan has one advantage. They are accustomed to wearing face masks and capable of making them, using handkerchiefs or coffee filters. Face masks are a fashion thing in this country, and for some, they are not as much associated with hygiene and health as they are with fashion. Almost 6 billion disposable face masks have been produced there 2 years ago, of which over 4 billion were intended for private use. That's why many Japanese have several face masks at home. As if they'd had a premonition...
They powered through the first wave of the coronavirus contagion, mainly thanks to their discipline and their ability to withstand the strain on the psyche. They are well organized, so their government didn't fall into panic, when the pandemic broke out. It doesn't mean they have won. According to the latest information, the number of infected people in Tokyo is on the rise again, and they are about to announce the state of emergency. Yet the people of this country are far ahead. They are mentally ready to fight the virus without even realizing it!