Haruka Sakamoto examines Japan’s strategy for dealing with Covid-19, which, unlike the strategies chosen by other nations, has used only limited PCR testing and made little use of IT methods for tracking those who might have encountered infected individuals. Based on her years of experience working for the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare as well as serving as a consultant for the WHO, the Gates Foundation, and the World Bank, she presents an inside view of Japanese policymaking and the legal framework and constraints that have shaped Japanese strategies.
Haruka Sakamoto, MD MPH, is a primary-care physician and assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Keio University. She earned her MD from Sapporo Medical University and worked as a physician at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo for several years. She then received a scholarship from the World Bank and earned her MPH at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. From 2011 to 2013 and 2016, she worked at the international cooperation department, Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare of Japan, where she was deeply involved in health policy activities. As part of that work, she participated in WHO meetings, G7 meetings, and bilateral cooperation activities through JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency). Sakamoto is also currently working at Department of Global Health Policy in the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Medicine as a project researcher, and World Health Organization Western Pacific Regional Office and Gates Foundation Tokyo Office, as a consultant. Her current research focuses on health system strengthening, healthcare financing, and politics in global health.