A press conference can help see the impact the coronavirus has and how each country handles it. The Dutch government and the government of Japan both have stated their significant concerns on the critical situation of the rise of corona cases. You might wonder, „Then the situation in Japan must be just as critical as in the Netherlands.“ Yes and no.
Whereas in the Netherlands, the current total cases are around 762.985, Japan has about 221.412 cases¹. If you would show these numbers to a Dutch person, they will most likely react confused to the Japanese’s concerns since these numbers are less than those of the Netherlands. Perhaps it has to do with Japan’s collective culture, while the Dutch culture is significantly individualistic. Or has it to do with actively preventing the infections of the coronavirus? The density level in Japanese cities is more significant than in Dutch towns; thus, a domino-effect could happen without the right actions. Let’s take a closer look at the press conferences earlier this December. Who is speaking, and what are they saying?
¹These numbers are based on the data from HU CSSE COVID-19 Data on 28/12/2020.
The press conference in Japan: Support & Vaccination
On the 11th of December, 2020, at 2:53 P.M., Tamura Norihisa (田村 憲久) the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (厚生労働省), held a press conference. During the conference, he addressed various concerns for those who find it difficult to get by during the year-end and New Year holidays. Norihisa addressed the vaccination process in Japan, as well.
The government requests local bodies to establish a system by making preparations and arrangements to open temporary contact points and secure locations for temporary lodging during the end of 2020 and 2021. In addition, the Hello Work public employment offices are setting up a system where advisers are on duty to listen to individual circumstances. A prime example of their work is providing support to those who have no place to live due to becoming unemployed during the pandemic.
Norihisa addressed the vaccines from AstraZeneca as the second point of the press conference. The Japanese government has closed an official agreement with AstraZeneca, which will supply 120 million vaccinations for Japan. During the first quarter of 2021, 30 million vaccinations will be provided. Regarding the vaccines, the Health and Welfare Science Council met on the 10th of December to study the system for administering and distributing the vaccines in each local municipality. They want to ensure that the vaccination process goes as smoothly as possible.
Financial help in Japan
Regarding the Special Emergency Petty Cash Funds, the government has extended the deadline for applications following the economic measures. This deadline used to be the end of December 2020, but will now be the end of March 2021. In addition, the maximum payment period of the Cash Payment for Securing Living Quarters will be extended from the current nine months to twelve months. Single-parent households will receive a re-payment of extraordinary special benefits as well. Click here to read more about the financial arrangements (in English and Japanese).
Press conference in the Netherlands: Lockdown
On the 14th of December, 2020, at 7 P.M., the Netherlands‘ Prime-Minister, Mark Rutte, held a press conference. This press conference was more a speech to the people since he announced a strict lockdown to prevent more coronavirus infections. The number of corona infections is increasing, with many new cases added every day. The Netherlands is in lockdown from the 15th of December 2020, lasting until the 19th of January 2021. Whereas during the press conference of Norihisa, the only background noises you could hear were the camera shutters, the background noises during Rutte’s speech were protestors.
Rutte addressed the elephant in the room: this Christmas will be gloomy. From the 16th of December 2020 to the 18th of January 2021, online education will become the norm from primary education to universities. There are exceptions for practical training and personal guidance for students with special needs. Childcare is closed as well, with an exception for parents with vital professions. Meanwhile, the government strongly advises everyone to work at home, unless it is not possible. Only essential shops will remain open, such as supermarkets, financial and government organizations. Other shops and restaurants can only make use of take-away and pick-up services.
Rutte hopes that the vaccination process can start at the beginning of the next year. He calls this process the hope for 2021.
Financial help in the Netherlands
The ministry is releasing a new substantial support package, based on the volume of loss. Subsidies can be applied for from the 15th of December. The higher the loss, the higher the financial assistance. On the governmental website (Rijksoverheid), companies can (re-)apply for support and recovery packages with temporary financial arrangements, social packages and investment measures. The Chamber of Commerce and the employers‘ organization VNO-NCW/MKB Nederland have created aid packages as well. Read more about financial arrangements here (in Dutch).
We understand that the current happenings around the coronavirus can affect your business. In case you are considering expanding your business to Japan or the Netherlands, but wonder if this is the right moment, and if not, what preparations for the future you can do: please talk to us. We wish to help you in any means possible.