A recurrent theme of the end of 2020 was widespread relief at the end of a difficult year, but 2021 will bring its own challenges.
Millions of people will receive one of the new vaccines against COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Economies will recover, perhaps even quickly, and travel and small businesses will open up again, rejuvenating the global tourism industry and local economies.
In Japan, the vaccine rollout will be even more important. Not only will it start later than in many advanced nations, but there will be pressure to complete it before the 2021 Olympics and Paralympics. Complicating matters, there is the question of how many Japanese will refuse to take the shot, considering the perceived problems of side effects from earlier vaccines.
Japan also will hold events to mark the 10th anniversary of the March 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami, though these may be muted amid the pandemic.
In the U.S., a new president, Joe Biden, will seek to advance policies to deal with the pandemic, fight climate change and repair the country’s reputation with its allies, while Republicans will seek to forcefully oppose him. And though Donald Trump will leave the presidency, he certainly won’t fade out of public view. (T)