While a number of nations have used high-tech surveillance, mass testing, contact tracing, and draconian stay-at-home laws to manage the ongoing pandemic, Japan’s official response has been less energetic. The country also faces tremendous challenges with an aging population, high population density, and broad use of public transportation systems. Yet it has managed to achieve strong COVID-19 outcomes, with far lower death rates than many other advanced industrial democracies. This article traces Japan's weak response and potential explanations for its pandemic miracle, focusing especially on the role of social ties and silver linings that have emerged during the pandemic.

You do not currently have access to this content.