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The header photo shows a radiation hotspot near Fukushima in 2012. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

Japan (MNN) — Nearly ten years ago, a powerful 8.9 magnitude earthquake unleashed a massive tsunami near Fukushima, Japan. 20,000 people died and over 100,000 evacuated after three nuclear reactors suffered damage and melted down, releasing radioactive materials into the environment. Read more about the ongoing effects of the catastrophe here.

courtesy of Tokyo Organizing Committee

Japan (MNN) — Support for the Tokyo Olympics just hit a new low in Japan. The latest spike in Tokyo’s COVID-19 infections has 80-percent of Japanese residents saying the Summer Games should be rescheduled again, or canceled altogether.

“People have different feelings. Some [are] saying, ‘it’s impossible so let’s give up’; [the] government hasn’t,” Takeshi Takazawa explains. Takazawa is Vice President for Missional Engagement and is the former National Director for Asian Access in Japan.

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Japan (MNN) — The world’s most populous city is now under a state of emergency thanks to soaring COVID-19 infections. Japan reported 6,100 new cases on Thursday, with roughly half coming from Tokyo. The emergency declaration began Friday and will end on February 7.“

Over the Christmas into New Year’s holidays, we couldn’t change the trend of steep [infection] increases, especially in the bigger cities. Hokkaido and Osaka requested ‘state of emergency’-type restrictions; however, Tokyo never went into that stage,” Takeshi Takazawa explains.

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Pandemic challenges Japan’s group-oriented culture

Japan (MNN) — While other countries battle rising COVID-19 cases, Japan is seeing a different kind of spike – suicides.

More people in Japan have died by suicide in 2020 than from COVID-19. In fact, their suicide numbers in October alone outnumbered the nation’s total COVID-19 deaths in the first 11 months of the year.

Header image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay.

Pfizer’s vaccine is 95% effective at preventing someone from catching COVID-19.

Japan (MNN) — This week, the company Pfizer will deliver an estimated 2.9 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to locations around the US. The UK has already begun using the vaccine, which was developed by the German company BioNTech.

The vaccine was developed in under a year and uses new technology to vaccinate people against viruses. It needs to be kept at very cold temperatures, at least 70 degrees below zero Celsius.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.Japan (MNN) — Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned, citing chronic health concerns. Last year, he became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, serving his current period in office since 2012. This isn’t the first time Mr. Abe has resigned as Japan’s prime minister for health reasons. He left a previous term in 2007 for similar chronic health reasons. Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access says:

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