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Opinion

Does Japan need an equivalent of the CDC to fight coronavirus?

Country has first-class emergency medical system but it is not without problems

| Japan
Officers in protective gear enter the Diamond Princess to transfer a patient to the hospital on Feb. 7: Japan needs to fix well-known problems in its current system.   © Reuters

As Japan has passed a thousand cases of the coronavirus, including those from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and the government has taken drastic action by calling for all schools to shut, some have asked whether the country has the proper scientific infrastructure to respond to a viral outbreak.

In particular, critics have suggested that Japan needs the equivalent of the U.S.'s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, a national agency which can provide expert advice in times of crisis for the government to act on. At the moment, these critics fear that politics takes precedence in decision-making.

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