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Medical groups issue urgent statement over coronavirus surge in Japan

People wearing masks are seen at JR Tokyo Station in the capital's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi/Hiroshi Maruyama)

TOKYO -- Japan's health care system is on the verge of being seriously strained amid surging coronavirus infections, according to a joint statement by nine Japanese medical groups released July 29.

    The urgent statement from the Japan Medical Association, the Japan Hospital Association and others references nationwide record high daily infections in stating: "It is essential we share a sense of crisis and take measures to avoid an explosive spread." It demands that the Japanese government consider declaring a nationwide state of emergency, and that they promote vaccines for 40- to 64-year-olds.

    "The stance that no declaration will be made without demand for one means it will come too late," Japan Medical Association President Toshio Nakagawa said at a news conference. "We want the government to respond ahead of time."

    When asked about any influence from the Olympics, Tokyo Medical Association Chairperson Haruo Ozaki said, "It is difficult to ask for self-restraint when people are euphoric (because of the games), so there may have been indirect effects."

    Japan Medical Association President Toshio Nakagawa (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

    The statement asserted that there are fears of strain on the medical system as more patients in their 40s and 50s are developing moderate symptoms. It requests that the central government ensure a stable and sufficient vaccine supply. Calls were also made to the public to telework fully.

    The joint statement was issued by the Japan Medical Association, the Japan Hospital Association, the Japan Dental Association, the Japan Pharmaceutical Association, the Japanese Nursing Association, the All Japan Hospital Association, the Japanese Association of Medical Care Corporations, the Japan Psychiatric Hospitals Association and the Tokyo Medical Association.

    (Japanese original by Shunsuke Kamiashi, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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