Google starts forecasting COVID-19 cases in Japan

Google has begun providing forecasts of the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths in Japan.

The service started on Tuesday. It is the Japanese application of a model that Google, in partnership with Harvard University, developed based on AI technology. The company launched the service in the United States in August.

The service will provide the number of new COVID cases, deaths, hospitalization and other data at the prefecture level over the next 28 days.

During the period from Sunday to December 12, a total of 53,321 people are projected to test positive nationwide. Hokkaido is expected to have the most cases at 16,877, followed by Tokyo with 10,164 and Osaka with 7,756.

To work out the forecasts, Google uses public data including those from the health ministry, and data the company collects on the movement of people. The firm says it has confirmed the model's forecast accuracy by using past data.

Google says the forecasts are intended to help medical institutions, government authorities, and other relevant organizations to be better prepared.