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Yamanaka on COVID-19

Uncovering Japan's coronavirus X-factor matters to the world

Cultural traits have helped but are no substitute for 'test, trace and isolate'

KYOTO -- Over the last six months in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic, one recurring question that many outside Japan have been asking is how the country has managed to avoid a major outbreak.

Japan is a country of crowded cities. Geographically, it is close to China, the epicenter of the initial outbreak. Chinese tourists love Japan, which also has an aging population, a problem recognized around the world. The country had seemed primed to suffer a far greater outbreak of the virus, which is known to affect the elderly disproportionately.

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