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'To be honest, we're kind of scared' | Father talks about living in Japan during coronavirus outbreak

Japan has nearly four times more cases of the coronavirus than the U.S. Families are desperate to keep their loved ones safe.

TOKYO, Japan — As fear spreads over a possible outbreak of the coronavirus in the U.S., people in countries like Japan are dealing with the reality of it. A father of three, who lives in Tokyo, described to WUSA9 what life has been like trying to protect his family.

Mike Suzuki isn't taking any chances when it comes to doing all he can prevent the coronavirus from attacking his family.

On Thursday, Japan's government announced a temporary closure of schools until early April because of the virus. In Tokyo, the closures start next week. However, Suzuki who has a second-grader and a senior in high school decided to keep his kids home from school today. His oldest daughter lives on her own.

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"It's kind of late. They should have done this earlier," Suzuki said on the government's recent decision to close schools. "April may be enough, but we still don't know that, but it's a good decision."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Japan is experiencing community transmission of the respiratory illness, which means it can spread from person to person.

A state of emergency was declared Friday morning for Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. The island country has nearly four times the number of confirmed cases than the US.

As of Friday morning, Japan had 228 cases while the US maintained 60.

Suzuki said he has noticed that people are being extra cautious.

"Ninety-five percent of people are wearing masks now," he said. "Two weeks ago, it was like 50 percent or less." 

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Suzuki was on a train earlier week and described it as unusually empty, suggesting that most people are choosing to stay home. He doesn't blame them. When his family leaves the house, they all wear masks. He also reminds the kids to keep their hands clean and out of their face.

"I hope there will be a stop to this," he said. "It's everyone's wish."

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Credit: Mike Suzuki

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