March 29, 2021/ 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

How Japan Responded to the Covid-19 Pandemic

Junior Faculty Roundtable Series #3

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the health and economics of nations across the globe. However, not all countries were affected equally. Although Japan has seen the first case of the COVID-19 patient relatively early, the number of infections and deaths due to COVID-19 remains low compared to the US or European countries. Yet, the underlying reasons for such stark differences have not been fully understood. This roundtable brings together a group of experts who were deeply involved in how Japan responded to this pandemic, and share their insights as to what we can learn from Japan's experience.



Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Health and Global Policy Institute

Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa is a board advisor of UCLA Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, a professor emeritus at National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, the University of Tokyo and the Tokai University, Chairman of the Health and Global Policy Institute, Member of World Dementia Council. After graduating from the University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine, he served as a professor at the School of Medicine of UCLA (1979-1984), University of Tokyo (89-96), the dean of Tokai University School of Medicine (96-2002), the president of the Science Council of Japan (03-06), the science advisor to the Prime Minister (06-08), WHO commissioner (05-09), Chair and Representative Director of GHIT Fund(13-18) and the executive member of many other national and international professional societies. He was also Chairman of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission by the National Diet of Japan (11-12). He was appointed chair of AI Advisory Board on the coronavirus pandemic by Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura in July 2020.


Consul General Akira Muto, Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles

Mr. MUTO Akira graduated from the Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1985. Having served at the Embassies of Japan in Washington DC and Moscow, he held directorships for Free Trade Agreement & Economic Partnership, Intelligence & Analysis, Russian Affairs, and Foreign Policy Coordination between 2004 and 2012; and in 2012, he became Consul General of Japan in Boston. He served as Deputy Director General, European Affairs Bureau (Ambassador, 2014-15); and served in the National Security Secretariat (2015-16). He was Minister, Embassy of Japan in the U.S. (Global Affiliate Visiting Scholar, Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University) (2018-19). He became Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles in 2019.


Dr. Hiroshi Nishiura, Kyoto University

Dr. Hiroshi Nishiura is the professor of Hygiene at Kyoto University School of Public Health. Professor Nishiura is cosmopolitan-minded, having worked for 10 years for different infectious disease modeling groups at Imperial College London, University of Tuebingen (Germany), University of Utrecht (The Netherlands) and the University of Hong Kong, before returning back to Japan in 2013. His research interests span the areas of statistical epidemiology of infectious diseases, epidemiological modeling and biomathematical formulation of the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases. He aims to answer policy-relevant questions by integrating various mathematical models with empirically observed data. A common thread in his research is an understanding of the epidemiological dynamics underlying empirically observed data.



Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa, UCLA

Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa is Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCLA. Prior to joining the faculty at UCLA, he was a health specialist at the World Bank Group and a research fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Tsugawa received his PhD in Health Policy from Harvard University with a concentration in statistics, and his MPH from Harvard School of Public Health. His research focuses on the variation in quality and costs of care across individual physicians and its determinants.

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