Japan: ‘Virus Vigilantes’ Threaten People for Coronavirus Violations

Japan: ‘Virus Vigilantes’ Threaten People for Coronavirus Violations


Japan’s Nikkei Asian Reviews highlighted the emergency of “virus vigilantes” in the country on Tuesday: enforcers that use peer pressure to keep people from violating lockdown restrictions without actually having any legitimate authority.

Observers view the behavior as a symptom of Japanese society’s emphasis on conformity, which some argue has increased feelings of social suffocation during the pandemic, possibly contributing to recent spikes in Japan’s suicide rates.

Hiroaki Murata, the owner of a bar and music club in Tokyo, told Nikkei on Tuesday that he received a warning from a virus vigilante in April at the height of Japan’s coronavirus outbreak that left him and his wife feeling “frightened.”

“For safety, refrain from opening live music clubs until the state of emergency ends,” read a typed note taped to Murata’s store sign. “If I find you opening again, I’ll call the police.” The note was signed simply, “a neighbor.”

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On the day that Murata received the typed

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