Where is the pressure coming from?

Who or what is the source of the demented zeal to shut down society worldwide? If any of us survive the present crisis, this question will need to be investigated and the people responsible for this monstrous self-inflicted catastrophe will need to be named and shamed.

Here’s an illuminating article about the pressure on Japan to lock down its population of ~127 million, despite the fact that the country has suffered – are you ready for this? – 517 deaths from WuFlu as of May 2:

Under Japan’s coronavirus state of emergency, people have been asked to stay home. Many are not. Some still have to commute to their jobs despite risks of infection, while others continue to dine out, picnic in parks and crowd into grocery stores with scant regard for social distancing.

The horror!

On Wednesday, the first day of the “Golden Week” holidays that run through May 5, Tokyo’s leafy Shiba Park was packed with families with small children, day camping in tents.

The lure of heading out for Golden Week holidays is testing the public’s will to unite against a common enemy as health workers warn rising coronavirus cases are overwhelming the medical system in some places. Experts say a sense of urgency is missing, thanks to mixed messaging from the government and a lack of incentives to stay home.

Let’s see who is pushing to turn Japan into an open-air prison camp:

To get better compliance, the government needs stronger messaging, said Naoya Sekiya, a University of Tokyo professor and expert of social psychology and risk communications.

A tougher lockdown would also help. […]

“The message coming from the government is rather mild, apparently trying to convey the need to stay home while prioritizing the economy,” Sekiya said. Since people lack a shared sense of crisis, instead of staying home they’re hoping for the best and assuming they won’t get infected, he said.

No shared sense of crisis? Very troubling. Perhaps the Japanese media can start running breathless stores about how MILLIONS WILL DIE, even young and healthy people! Or perhaps Japan can begin holding regular clapping session for the poor frontline workers to create an impression of national emergency.

As elsewhere, meddlesome officials and panicky governors are among those leading the charge to make “stay home, save lives” the new operating principle:

Officials are trying to fight back. In Kichijoji, they patrolled shopping arcades carrying banners saying “Please, do not go out.” Local mayors appealed to the government to close the crowded Shonan beach, popular with surfers and families, south of Tokyo. Some prefectures have set up border checkpoints to spot non-local license plates.

“It seems not everyone shares the sense of crisis,” said Kazunobu Nishikawa, a disaster prevention official in Musashino city, which oversees Kichijoji. “Many people understand the risks of this infectious disease,” he said, but “others seem to think COVID-19 is nothing more than a common cold and don’t care as long as they don’t catch it.” […]

Abe did not ask non-essential businesses to close. But Koike, the Tokyo governor, fought and prevailed in requesting that schools, movie theaters, athletic clubs, hostess bars and other such businesses in the city be asked to close. Most restaurants and pubs still can operate from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., and grocery and convenience stores and public transport remain open as usual.

With most of the world’s rich nations committing seppuku over this virus, Japan may emerge out of this crisis in a relatively strong position.

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