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Thoughtful Communication during Difficult Times

At the time of this writing, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is providing weekly updates on the Covid-19 pandemic in English via YouTube. If you live outside of Japan, this might not seem like a big deal. However, any foreigner living in Japan knows that frequent English communication coming directly from high-level public officials is rare.

Considering that Tokyo’s non-Japanese residents make up less than 4% of the prefecture’s population, it would have been understandable if the government only updated the public in Japanese, letting the media translate and disseminate these announcements to the English-speaking public.

Thankfully, the governor realized that in times of crisis, not all decisions should be made based on a cost-benefit analysis. These bilingual announcements promote an inclusive culture in Tokyo. A society where everyone feels included is a society where everyone, regardless of nationality, will work together and do what it takes to overcome crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Originally from California, I've been living and working in Japan, now my second home, since 2009. My work as a communications consultant lends a unique perspective to my writing, and I often explore the business behind Japan’s beauty. When I’m not working, you can find me hunched over a screen reviewing kanji flashcards in my never-ending quest to master the Japanese language.

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