Despite indifferent lockdowns and poor testing, Japan seems to be skipping the worst of the pandemic.
- 3.3 Public Health
- 100 Financial
- 100 Fact-Based
Japan has a strong overall score, driven by its generous financial response and a reliance on facts, although its public health policy is very weak.
Despite being among the most heavily indebted countries in the Index, Japan’s healthcare system is very strong, contributing to its relatively strong score.
- Debt/GDP ratio 237.1%
- GDP/capita $46,827
- Gini coefficient (out of 100) 32.9
- Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 2
- Healthcare access score (out of 100) 89
- Hospital beds/1,000 People 97.1
Government ResponseSelect a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Mar 15.)
Public Health Directives
Japan had very weak public health policy, with strong scores on school closings countered by a relatively weak stay-at-home order and limited testing.
- Stay at home order 1
- Public gathering restrictions 1
- School closings 1
- Public event cancellations 1
- Testing policy 2
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $136.78
- Travel restrictions 4
- Tests/1,000 people 66.8
- Contact tracing 1
Japan has a very strong score on its financial response, with the highest stimulus and debt relief in the Index. Its income support has improved since January, but is still near the median.
- Financial stimulus as share of GDP 54.9%
- Income support 2
- Debt forebearance 2
Japan’s government is very strong in this category as it has not engaged in misinformation or limited press freedom in response to COVID-19.
- Reliance on science/fact based information 0
- Press freedom 0
COVID-19 Status as of Mar 15
Japan has a very strong score in this category, an increase since January, led by extremely low case and death rates, but a rising positivity rate suggests it may be missing more infected people in testing than before.
- Total deaths 1,146
- Death rate per 100K 9.1
- Total cases 448,000
- Cases per 100K 46
- Percent of positive tests 2.6
- Change in positivity rates -8.1
|1||May 25||State of emergency is lifted everywhere||0.17|
|2||Jun 19||Travel restrictions lifted||0.55|
|3||Jul 15||Rise in cases leads to requests to limit traveling outside Tokyo, and going to karaoke clubs or bars, until the end of August||5.81|
|4||Aug 03||Tokyo requests restaurants and bar shut down early||7.77|
|5||Sep 16||Lift measures that limited hours for karaoke bars and restaurants||4.36|
|6||Oct 30||Remove entry ban from Australia, Brunei, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam||6.14|
|7||Nov 19||Tokyo requests people stay inside and reimposes request on early closing for bars and restaurants||18.83|
|8||Dec 28||Suspended entry of nonresident foreign nationals through end of January 2021 over concerns of new virus strain||18.77|
|9||Jan 07||Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures declared state of emergency, asking restaurants to shut down by 8 p.m. and to stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m. Companies asked to reduce people in offices by 70%, events sizes limited to 5,000 people or 50% venue capacity, and people asked to stay home after 8 p.m., except for essential outings||59.80|
|10||Jan 14||Added seven more prefectures to the state of emergency, effective until February 7th||52.14|
|11||Feb 02||Added 10 more prefectures to the state of emergency, and extended it to March 7th||18.29|
|12||Feb 26||Lifted emergency for every location except greater Tokyo region, at the end of February||8.36|
- New variant from abroad and outbreak at immigration center: Japan reported a new strain of COVID-19 from abroad that differs from others in-country, and saw a large number of cases at an immigration facility; critics have contended that these facilities are poorly monitored and that detainees are at high risk of infection. Read More
- State of emergency extended amidst third wave: Japan extended its state of emergency to over half the country as it struggles to contain a new wave of COVID-19 infections, particularly as the country prepares for the Olympics. Read More
- Herd immunity unlikely before Olympics: A researcher suggested that Japan's delayed start of vaccinations for COVID-19 make it unlikely the country would achieve herd immunity until October, months after the Olympic games. Read More
- Japan appoints minister to handle vaccine rollout: Japan appointed Taro Kono as a new minister specifically in charge of Japan's COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in an effort to have a more coordinated response. Read More
- $708 billion in new coronavirus stimulus: Japan launched a new stimulus package of $708 billion to help the economy recover from COVID-19, with an emphasis on green technology and digital innovations. Read More
- Pandemic causing a nursing shortage: Japanese medical facilities set up for coronavirus patients are facing difficulties in recruiting skilled nurses, creating problems as they do not have enough people to administer PCR tests as cases surge across the country. Read More
- Better preparedness helps stave off crisis for the elderly: Despite having the oldest population in the world, with many in nursing homes, Japan has avoided a coronavirus disaster thus far due to preparedness, a culture that prioritizes elderly care, and overall less obesity and diabetes in the population. Read More
Compared with Other Island Nations
Per 1M 3
Iceland has a very strong score, owing heavily to its reliance on facts as well as generous debt and income support; its large improvement since January was keyed by significant improvements in public health policy and financial support.
Per 1M 5,498
Indonesia scores relatively weakly, a big drop in the past few months, keyed by substantial weakening of travel restrictions, testing policy, and debt relief.
100New Zealand 2,432
Per 1M 3
New Zealand has had very strong policy, particularly with regard to its reliance on science and facts and its relatively strong financial response.
Per 1M 2
Taiwan has a relatively strong policy score, but its minimal stimulus and weak debt relief bring it down. However, the data does not accurately measure its advanced contact tracing, which may have diminished the need for more restrictions; this likely results in a score that underestimates Taiwan’s response.
Further Reading From Foreign Policy
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Statistics and government response factors available on each country profile include:
- Debt to GDP ratio
- Infant mortality rates
- Hospital beds per 1,000 people
- Gini coefficients measuring inequality
- Health access and quality
COVID-19 Public Health Directives:
- Stay-at home orders
- School-closing policy
- Public-gathering restrictions
- Cancellation of public events
- Testing policy and rates per 1,000 people
- Emergency healthcare spending per capita
- Travel restrictions
- Contact tracing
COVID-19 Financial Response:
- Stimulus package as a share of GDP
- Income support
- Instances of misinformation by leadership
- Limitations on press freedom, censorship
Current/Historic In-Country COVID-19 Status:
- Death rates per 1 million
- Case rates per 1 million