While many of the world’s notable superpowers have gone to extreme lengths to mandate COVID shots for their citizens, the East Asian nation of Japan has taken a completely hands-off approach. Rather than force jabs upon the population through vaccine passports, like many Western countries, Japan’s government has allowed such a decision to remain an individual choice.
In its guidance on COVID-19 vaccines, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare makes clear that while the government encourages citizens to get COVID shots, the option to do so “is not compulsory or mandatory.”
“Vaccination will be given only with the consent of the person to be vaccinated after the information provided,” the guidelines read. “Please get vaccinated of your own decision, understanding both the effectiveness in preventing infectious diseases and the risk of side effects. No vaccination will be given without consent.”
The ministry furthermore asks individuals and businesses not to “force anyone in your workplace or those who around you to be vaccinated,” while also encouraging those who have received the jab not to “discriminate against those who have not been vaccinated.” Also included in the guidance is a link to a human rights counseling page that provides instructions on how to handle instances of discrimination in the workplace.
What remains even more stunning about Japan’s approach to COVID vaccination efforts, however, has been their transparency regarding the shots’ potential side effects. Earlier this month, the nation’s health ministry ordered that “inflammation of the heart muscle and of the outer lining of the heart in younger males” be listed “as possible serious side effects of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID vaccines.” Hospitals are also mandated to “report in detail incidents involving people who developed the symptoms within 28 days after being vaccinated” under the new directive.
Such openness and respect for medical ethics is a breath of fresh air when contrasted against the authoritarian efforts undertaken by U.S. President Joe Biden, whose administration has orchestrated one of the greatest assaults on individual freedoms in the modern era. In addition to mandating federal workers get a COVID jab through executive fiat, Biden has also taken the liberty of unconstitutionally forcing certain private businesses into requiring their employees to get the shots. Both edicts have since been struck down in multiple federal court rulings.
Moreover, the Democrat president and his administration have taken unprecedented steps to foster division among the American people by scapegoating and demonizing those who choose not to take the shots. While speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Biden pushed the lie that the vaccinated can’t spread COVID and continued to antagonize Americans who choose to forgo the jab.
“To folks who are not vaccinated, you may think you’re only putting yourself at risk, but … your choice is not just a choice about you. It affects other people,” he said. “You’re putting other people at risk. Your loved ones, your friends, neighbors, strangers you run into. And your choice can be the difference between life or death.”
“Those who are not vaccinated are causing hospitals to become overrun again … Every COVID-19 hospital means someone with a heart attack, cancer, or other serious illness may not get that bed and that life-saving care they need in the hospital,” he added.
Similar sentiments were echoed by White House COVID response coordinator Jeff Zients, who said last week, “[W]e are intent on not letting omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. You’ve done the right thing, and we will get through this,” while adding that “[F]or the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.”
Japan’s Leadership Values Liberty More Than America’s
The stark differences in the two countries’ respective approaches to COVID vaccination efforts are not only distressing but shameful. For decades, the United States has remained a beacon of freedom for millions of disenfranchised people living in totalitarian hellholes throughout the world.
Biden’s draconian COVID edicts tarnish that image, as the federal government’s actions demonstrate a political class that has declared war on the natural rights of the American citizenry. These actions aren’t at all representative of America’s ideals but of regimes throughout history that have placed absolute power and control over individual liberty.
It has become glaringly apparent that, unlike Japan, neither Biden nor those within his administration cherishes the values and principles that have defined America for generations. At every turn of the pandemic, Biden and his cronies have utilized fear and intimidation to coerce Americans into making personal medical decisions they may be uncomfortable with and turning citizens against one another. For a man who infamously declared to the world that “America is back” shortly after taking office, Biden has done more damage to the ideals that have made America special than any president in U.S. history.
So, while we should applaud Japan for its level-headed and rational approach to COVID vaccinations, we should also pray for a day when the leadership of the United States returns to upholding the principles that have defined our country for generations.