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Japan's coronavirus response walks thin tightrope in foreign PR push

Government concerned poor image will impede economic recovery

Many foreign media are skeptical of relaxing restrictions on economic activity before the testing regime is further strengthened. Shigeru Omi (left), a member of the government’s expert advisory panel, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

TOKYO -- Japan's "weird" approach to containing the new coronavirus and its results have left many observers baffled. Now as the government prepares to reopen the nation's economy, it is also stepping up its public relations campaign to help people overseas understand its strategy.

"Japan's Halfhearted Coronavirus Measures Are Working Anyway," read the title of an article published in Foreign Policy magazine on May 14. The piece marveled at how "everything seems to be going weirdly right" even though "Japan appears to be doing everything wrong." A translation was later published in the Japanese edition of Newsweek and widely quoted in Japan.

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