Characteristics and Issues of
Japan's Response to COVID-19
-An International Comparison-

In 2020, the world economy was struck by the unprecedented crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. Japan's response to the pandemic has been comparatively successful when considered from an international perspective, and has reduced the nation’s mortality rate. At the same time, it must be said that it has also highlighted serious structural issues in Japanese society.

Based on an international comparison, the most important issues to be addressed can be seen to include comprehensive review of the system of medical care and the cultivation of readiness for emergency responses. In addition, the important issues from the perspective of ensuring economic security are the enhancement of vaccine development, flexible responses with regard to the various regulations associated with vaccination, and focused and flexible government expenditure with clear priorities based on data analysis and a vision for the future of Japanese society.

Moreover, responses to the expansion of public debt and widening economic disparities due to COVID-19 will be important policy measures for the future. With regard to these issues, it will be necessary to review factors including the tax system and the direction for procurement of government finances from the perspective of reducing disparities.

Executive Vice President, NIRA /Chairperson,The Japan Research Institute, Limited