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Japan’s approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic has become the country’s buzzword for 2020. Sanmitsu – known in English as the “three Cs” – was one of several words and phrases inspired by the virus to have made it onto this year’s shortlist.
Popularised by the Tokyo governor, Yuriko Koike, sanmitsu refers to three situations the government has encouraged people to avoid to prevent the transmission of Covid-19: confined spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings.
The approach was adopted early on in the pandemic and has been credited with keeping cases and deaths in Japan comparatively low, although a recent surge in new cases has prompted warnings that the country has entered a third wave of infections.
Japan’s cumulative case total stood at 151,742 on Tuesday, according to public broadcaster NHK, with 2,206 deaths. Infection numbers rose by 2,030 on the same day, including a record 41 deaths.
Koike, whose enthusiasm for the three Cs inspired an online game, received the buzzword award from the contest’s organiser, the publishing house Jiyukokuminsha, in an online ceremony.
The top 10 candidates included Abenomask – a reference to the much-derided face coverings distributed to every household earlier this year, when Shinzo Abe was prime minister.
The Go To travel campaign also made the top 10 amid criticism that the heavily subsidised tourism programme has helped spread the virus since its launch in July to prop up regional economies during the pandemic. On Tuesday, Koike and Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, agreed that people over 64 and those with underlying health conditions should be discouraged from using the scheme.
Other popular words included Amabie, a mythical sea monster that wards off disease, and Demon Slayer, a manga and animated film that is on course to become Japan’s biggest-grossing movie of all time.
With more people forced to entertain themselves at home, it was no surprise that the popular video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the hit South Korean drama Crash Landing On You also made the shortlist.
Coronavirus has inspired several words of the year around the world so far. In Britain, the Collins dictionary named lockdown the word of 2020, while the Oxford English dictionary decided there were too many options to choose from. The Australian National Dictionary decided on iso, a contraction of “isolation”. Merriam Webster and Dictionary.com in the US both simply opted for “pandemic”.
Japan’s approach to the pandemic will come under greater scrutiny as it prepares to host the postponed Tokyo Olympics, which are due to open on 23 July next year.
“Large numbers” of overseas visitors will be allowed to enter the country to attend the Games without mandatory vaccinations or two-week quarantine periods provided they submit proof of negative Covid-19 test results and download tracking apps on arrival, the Nikkei business daily reported on Wednesday, adding that there will be no restrictions on using public transport.
The report did not say how many visitors will be allowed to enter Japan. Organisers have sold nearly 1 million tickets overseas, the paper said, compared with 4.5m tickets sold in Japan.
Under current restrictions, travellers are required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in Japan and download a contact-tracing apps.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Japan names Covid-safe catchcry ‘sanmitsu’ buzzword of 2020 | Japan