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Opinion

Probing the mystery of Japan's light COVID toll

Trust in public health authorities likely helped offset country's aged populace

| Japan
People clad in traditional yukatas take part in a Bon Odori festival in Tokyo on Aug. 6: Resistance to wearing masks has been low in Japan.   © Reuters

Neil Seeman is a senior fellow at the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. He is chairman and founder of public sentiment research company RIWI.

In light of Japan's decision last week to waive pre-departure COVID-19 tests for vaccinated inbound travelers, it is worthwhile to consider that its strong performance over the first two years of the pandemic may have had less to do with policy than with culture.

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