Delegate Name: Cosmo Steffke
When COVID-19 started spreading on a global scale, countries scrambled to control the virus. Even though COVID had global attention, it still took over a year to develop and start administering vaccines. As a result, over three million people died in 2020 alone. COVID-19 serves as an important reminder to the world that pandemic planning will save lives, and that it should take priority. A combination of infection control, proper vaccination, and emphasis on public health can easily stop a pandemic in its tracks.
During COVID-19, Japan had one of the lowest disease incidence rates worldwide while having an urbanization rate of 91.8%. From the start, Japan has implemented strategies to curb the pandemic, including a declaration of a national emergency, lockdowns, and increased cluster-based transmission tracking. These measures combined with their high-quality health-care system made for incredibly low transmission. Japan’s healthcare has one of the highest budgets out of any country currently, with 11.5% of GDP going to it. This emphasis on public health allows diseased patients to have access to care that also mitigates the severity of the virus, drastically lowering the mortality rates. Japan’s population is also incredibly healthy and receptive to government mandates. Japan had much more lax lockdowns compared to global procedures, with no mandatory “stay at home” mandates, but many citizens still stayed at home when given the option.
Japan has shown its ability to mitigate pandemics with ease. However, countries with little to no plans for pandemic prevention and less developed healthcare systems need to address this. Japan advocates for budget allocation to poorer countries with a focus on increasing access to healthcare and vaccinations and global transmission tracking infrastructure to prevent future pandemic spread. This cannot be done without cooperation, and we as a nation will help to achieve this goal as much as we can.