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Global Times

China to send more aid to Japan; netizens suggest Tokyo lockdown amid Sakura season

Global Times

By Xu Keyue Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/29 20:19:40

The Chinese government will provide a second batch of medical aid to Japan where COVID-19 infection is feared to increase steadily, amid medical materials shortage in Japan and some voices suggesting Tokyo impose a temporary lockdown like that of Wuhan despite its Sakura blossom tourism season.

Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou announced the planned second batch of aid over the weekend, the embassy reported. Kong also suggested the two countries strengthen cooperation on medical research and information sharing - including pathogen detection and vaccine development. He expects bilateral ties to get stronger and enhanced through the joint fight against the virus.

The outbreak in China has been basically brought under control, while Japan, especially Tokyo, faces increasing cases.

However, social gatherings without face masks are still commonly seen in Tokyo despite its government calling on people to stay home, which stoked worries among Chinese netizens that a neighboring country with such a lack of epidemic control and quarantine awareness could potentially see an escalation of outbreak.

Chinese living in Japan reached by the Global Times on Sunday expressed waves of similar concerns as the country has entered Sakura season when visitors usually flood in to enjoy the flowers.

A Chinese surnamed Wang, who has worked in Tokyo for two years, said she saw a lot of people gather in Yoyogi Park to enjoy the flower last weekend and having picnic under the trees as always. "Luckily, fewer visitors went to the park after the city's government called on residents to stay at home over the weekend," Wang noted.

A Chinese student in Waseda University, who preferred to be named Shin, gave packs of face masks to his Japanese friends and sent messages to remind them of washing hands, changing for a new mask per day and not going out if unnecessary.

A Japanese resident surnamed Seino said many residents are going outside without wearing mask mainly because they don't have enough masks, provoking mounting public health concerns.

Some Chinese netizens advised hard-hit Tokyo to impose a lockdown, further restrict or ban traffic flows and implement social distancing to ensure public safety.

The topic "Tokyo could enter lockdown" has been viewed 296,000 times as of press time on Chinese Sina Weibo.

Shin said lockdown rumors circulated among residents in the city, causing many to rush to supermarkets for bulk purchases of daily necessities. "Meat and tissue paper at many stores were sold out over the weekend."

"Some Japanese friends don't really want a lockdown as their life and the social economy would be stagnant and some questioned the move's legality in Japan. However, most Chinese including me wish the lockdown come into effect as soon as possible so that we could feel more secured."

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike issued a plea on Wednesday that residents refrain from going outside this weekend following a surge in coronavirus infections, the Japan Times reported on Saturday.

Many department stores, movie theaters and amusement parks have been closed, with access to popular cherry blossom spots restricted, said the report.

"As the request by the government is not mandatory, staying home or cheering out rely on personal self-discipline," Wang said.

A further 199 cases were confirmed Saturday in Japan, hitting single-day record highs, lifting the total to 1,724. Among them, 362 more cases were reported in Tokyo which became the biggest cluster of infections in the country.

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