Social responsibility has been a critical imperative before the vaccines for the COVID-19 virus were developed and it remains vital for the safety and well-being as the vaccines are rolled out across the world. But some countries have fared better since the beginning of the outbreak, and we’d like to discuss the reasons for this and what we can learn from each other across the world, in true ‘Over Here, Over There’ fashion.

Host Dan Harris, HymnSheet Ltd, is joined by his fellow podcaster Claudia Koestler, Senior Editor at the Suddeutsche Zeitung in Munich. Our guests include: Mike Bellissimo, senior healthcare and high technology executive, joining from outside Boston, Massachusetts;  Margaret Cavanagh, a British Psychotherapist, and Kaki Okumura, a top Japanese writer on food, cooking, health, travel, and culture, who joins the discussion from Tokyo.

The COVID pandemic has been devasting in so many ways. Each country has its own unique story in the management of the pandemic, all with different strengths and weaknesses. There are some that seem to have managed it in their stride, keeping it relatively under control, although furiously vigilant to each potential outbreak. Japan, with the third-largest economy, is one of these countries. The data behind transmitted cases show Japan with approximately 1% of cases and deaths relative to the USA.

How has Japan maintained control and achieved relative success? We’ll ask Kaki Okumura what we can learn and possibly use in some way in other countries. Kaki wrote the opinion piece in Yes! Magazine entitled ‘Pandemic Lessons from Japan: A Tradition of Considering Others’ sparked this discussion.

To frame the discussion, here’s a quote from Kaki Okumura:

The U.S., with highly-trained healthcare professionals and world-leading medical facilities, has had challenges encouraging more socially responsible behaviours. We’ll look at other countries to see how they approach different problems and what can be learned and adapted from them.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and welcome your comments either here or on our social media channels.


Dan Harris is an international marketing consultant and Director of HymnSheet Ltd., based in the UK and Europe. He co-hosts the 'Over Here, Over There' podcast and appears on BBC radio and other broadcast media.