(This is the first in a series of articles produced in partnership with journalists from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle in collaboration with the nonprofit Solutions Journalism Network.)
By TOMOKO NAGAI, Rafu Staff Writer
As children in Japan arrive for school, they routinely remove their shoes and don slippers. The principal speaks to the children through closed-circuit television in each classroom followed by the playing of the school anthem.
“Sing quietly in your hearts,” the principal instructs. After all, singing out loud could spread COVID-19. “The recent (pandemic) has resulted the fewer hospital beds. Let’s avoid injuries that can be prevented,” the principal notes.
As of Feb. 27, 2021, Japan, with a population of 126.5 million, reports 7,807 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The U.S., with a population of 326.7 million, lists 509,000 deaths.