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Inside Japanese politics

Japan and Korea: Deference to authority shapes virus response

Mood in Japan surprises South Koreans, who tend to question their government

A mirror at a shopping mall reflects a crowd of people in Tokyo. Japan's and South Korea's approaches to the pandemic illustrate the neighbors' cultural differences.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- In Japan, as in much of the rest of the world, the pandemic has robbed spring of its sense of renewal.

This is usually a time for meetings and partings, for school graduation and entrance ceremonies, and for events that fill the streets with bustling crowds. It is a time to admire cherry blossoms and begin new sports seasons, as well as to travel domestically and abroad on spring break.

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