I followed COVID-19 in Japan somewhat closely. I admit the reported lack of direction or serious restrictions seemed like a mistake to me. But it looks like Japan had done a good job of really beating down the curve. There isn’t a lot of agreement in the reasons, and there may be many, but it could be extensive contact tracing and following the “3 C’s” rules.
Experts are also credited with creating an easy-to-understand message of avoiding what are called the “Three C’s” — closed spaces, crowded spaces and close-contact settings — rather than keeping away from others entirely.