Medical Triage and Rights to Life under the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Case of Japan

In the face of this global pandemic, Japan has declared an intermittent state of emergency since March 2019 until February 2021, with 431740 cases and 8251 deaths as of the end of February 2021. However, as a countermeasure against infectious diseases, domestic and international traffic restrictions are imposed, controls are implemented from the perspective of public health, schools, public facilities and commercial facilities are closed, and people are asked to refrain from entering their homes. There have been restrictions on individual freedoms and rights in a variety of areas. In particular, Covid-19 is characterized by the spread of infection by asymptomatic infected individuals, and by a high incidence of severe illness and mortality among the elderly. This paper focuses on the issue of “triage of the critically ill” and patients’ right to life and health in such infectious disease pandemics, and examines it from the perspective of constitutionalism.