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Japan must cement ties with ASEAN in health care security

Southeast Asia increasingly reliant on Tokyo for guidance and help

BANGKOK -- Despite some skepticism in the West that Tokyo has been successful in curbing the spread of coronavirus, Southeast Asian countries are still looking to Japan for direction and help as the pandemic provides an opportunity for Tokyo to form closer ties with the region.

The Japanese government's declaration of a state of emergency has been criticized by some as having no teeth, given as authorities are not able to enforce social distancing. However, the fact that the death rate in Japan has not risen to the tens of thousands seen in the Europe and the U.S., some in Southeast Asia have been more forgiving about Tokyo's attempts.

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