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Coronavirus cases fall in Japan despite lack of mandatory social distancing

Coronavirus cases fall in Japan despite lack of mandatory social distancing
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The Japanese government is continuing to report fewer coronavirus cases despite relatively relaxed social distancing measures compared to other countries. 

In Tokyo, a city with more than 9 million people, officials reported 39 new coronavirus cases on Monday, marking the lowest number of new daily cases in the city in three weeks. In total, Japan has reported 13,806 infections and 407 deaths as of Tuesday morning, far less than a number of other nations battling the disease.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and local officials have not mandated social distancing measures or shutdowns like the U.S. and a number of European countries, but have instead asked citizens to reduce their interactions by 80 percent and asked restaurants to reduce hours.

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The Japanese government has also forgone the goal of widespread testing, focusing instead on targeted testing on the known infection areas.

Japan is still behind in its stated goals on the number of tests they would like to conduct on a daily basis and on Sunday approved dentists to collect samples for coronavirus tests, according to The Japan Times.

Some experts believe the lack of testing in the nation could be resulting in skewed numbers. 

“The number of confirmed infections is the tip of the iceberg. It’s probably about 10 times as large,” Hiroshi Nishiura, a member of a panel of medical experts advising the government, said at a press conference on Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal.