How is Japan doing compared to other countries in 2022?
Due to the huge number of variables, it is notoriously difficult to draw conclusions about different national responses to the pandemic. Different countries test, record and release data in different ways, and this can easily distort statistics — sometimes wildly. The bottom line is this: take everything you hear with a big pinch of salt.
With that said, here are the official statistics: Japan has seen over 13,000,000 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began, and over 32,000 people have died following a positive test result.
On their own, these numbers don’t really tell us very much. A better way to put it in perspective is to look at the daily cases and deaths per million.
Another useful comparison is to look at “excess deaths”, which means the number of deaths above what would have been expected under “normal” conditions. This can be more revealing than just looking at deaths from Covid-19, since it takes a more holistic view of the effects of the pandemic on mortality.
For example, The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine reported that during 2020 the UK had a cumulative excess mortality rate of 10.5% above the five-year average, while the USA recorded a 12.9% increase. By contrast, countries such as South Korea, Iceland, Denmark and Norway saw reductions in excess deaths of up to -4.3% over the same period. Though Japan was not included in these figures, an academic from Tokushima University published a study showing that Japan also saw a net decrease in excess deaths during 2020 compared with the previous four years.