There is a growing tendency in the U.S. and Europe to require employees to be vaccinated against the new coronavirus and customers at restaurants to present proof of vaccination.
These measures have been taken based on the belief that stricter anti-infection measures are necessary amid the rampant spread of the highly infectious Indian variant (Delta variant). This raises questions as to whether these measures are necessary in Japan, where the daily number of new infection cases exceeds 15,000. The Nikkei asked business owners and experts about their views on this issue.
Watanabe Miki, chairperson of major restaurant chain Watami, states, “Vaccination should be made mandatory to prevent the risk of infection.” He goes on to say: “The knowledge about side effects that has been accumulated proves that being vaccinated has an overall positive effect.”
On the other hand, Kuga Naoko, senior researcher at NLI Research Institute, says, “I can’t agree with the partial vaccine mandates being introduced overseas.” She expresses concern by saying: “Pregnant women and people with chronic diseases are cautious about getting vaccinated. Mandatory vaccination could expose their personal information and lead to discrimination and prejudice.”
Business owners echo Kuga’s cautiousness. ANA Holdings President Katanozaka Shinya says: “The will of each individual should be respected when it comes to vaccination. It is important to inform a wide range of people about the effectiveness of vaccination.” Hoshino Resorts CEO Hoshino Yoshiharu says, “Mandatory vaccination would be very difficult to implement because individual rights would be subject to constraints.”
Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward Mayor Hosaka Nobuto says: “Currently Tokyo is a ‘vaccine desert’ and appointment slots are being filled instantly. Even people who go to the reservation website because they want to get vaccinated are unable to make appointments, so they give up on being vaccinated. It’s important to secure sufficient vaccines before making vaccination mandatory.” (Abridged)