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Coronavirus

Japan's coronavirus response offers little clarity and few lessons

Government's failure to explain its actions leaves reasons for success murky

Commuters wearing face masks make their way through Tokyo's Shinagawa Station on May 26.

TOKYO -- Japan's state of emergency, imposed in early April over the new coronavirus, lasted about a month and a half. The country escaped the initially feared explosive outbreak and the epidemic is, for the time being, under control. But something does not feel quite right. Many have been left to wonder whether the steps Japan took to combat the virus have been effective.

A member of an expert group of virologists and infectious diseases specialists summarized the situation well in mid-May, before the state of emergency was partially lifted: "The number of infections has definitely dropped. It seems the virus is being contained. But what had this effect? We're not sure."

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