business

Japan's travel ban has hit 85% of European businesses there: trade lobby

9 Comments
By Rocky Swift

Japan's travel ban aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus has hit most European firms in the country and could prompt them to rethink their future in the world's third-largest economy, a European business lobby said on Wednesday.

Many countries have imposed travel curbs amid the pandemic, but Japan's are among the strictest, effectively banning entry to tourists and visa holders coming from 129 countries.

Even permanent residents are not allowed in unless they are granted an exception on humanitarian grounds. In the United States and Europe, in contrast, non-citizen residents are allowed to return.

A recent survey by the European Business Council of 376 members in Japan showed that 85% had been negatively impacted by the ban, with 44% reporting financial losses. The EBC said the travel restrictions run counter to international treaties.

"This situation may also trigger some investment disputes against Japan," EBC president Michael Mroczek told reporters.

The way the ban was handled creates an air of unpredictability that may cause CEOs to "rethink their policy regarding Japan," he said.

Japan allows its citizens to return to the country if they take a coronavirus test at the port of entry and observe a period of self-quarantine.

Foreigners living in Japan face much higher hurdles for re-entry, such as demonstrating the need to visit dying relatives or be reunited with family in the country.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tweeted on Wednesday that Japan would gradually begin allowing foreign residents with re-entry permits to re-enter the country. Kyodo news said the measure would apply to foreign students and employees of foreign companies.

It was not immediately clear whether the relaxed rules would apply to foreign workers at Japanese companies or to permanent residence holders. Foreign ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

The EBC's remarks echoed those of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), which has decried the country's"double standard" in reentry requirements.

Restrictions to contain the spread of the virus have already helped tip Japan's economy into its first recession in 4-1/2 years, as the country tries to stave off a second wave of infections which has brought total cases there to more than 25,000.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

9 Comments
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The way the ban was handled creates an air of unpredictability that may cause CEOs to "rethink their policy regarding Japan," he said.

In a time when Japan needs to grow, Abe is driving away foreigners and global business, and they may not come back for decades. Seems he is determined to make Japan a backwater country. What a legacy.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Not allowing PR to re-enter is totally discrimination, while still taking tax from them.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

@Hiro

Everyone must equally endure it 

I agree, everyone must equally endure it. So, what is equal about a Japanese citizen being able to leave Japan and return with no hindrance, but that same citizen's spouse (spouse, PR, Japanese tax-payer, Japanese home owner, etc) being prevented from doing so?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Many countries have imposed travel curbs amid the pandemic, but Japan's are among the strictest, effectively banning entry to tourists and visa holders coming from 129 countries.

and that is one reason Japan has one of the lowest death rates.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Foreigners living in Japan face much higher hurdles for re-entry

I said this before. They don't face higher hurdles. They face a bloody brick wall.

People keep saying foreign investment and business should leave China. Well, they should leave Japan too. When next year's Olympics are cancelled, it will be Schadenfreude galore. Mind you, at this rate, no athlete is going to want to risk travelling to Tokyo, ban or no ban.

and that is one reason Japan has one of the lowest death rates.

Hong Kong has an even lower rate. I don't see them banning long-term residents.

Not allowing PR to re-enter is totally discrimination, while still taking tax from them.

Yeah, how about a tax rebate?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The funny thing is that Japanese citizens can now enter Europe (apart from Germany that asked for reciprocity). This is a joke. Considering that right now most of European countries are doing way better than Japan that has at least 500 cases a day, the EU should have just followed Germany's decision and should have kept the entry ban!!

Shame on you Japan

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Just the beginning of the hit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. A conservative reactionary organization. Hong Kong has a population of 7.5 million. Japan 127 million. Japan needs to grow, that is meaningless - the USA may become a backwater. Japan will be fine - it has international agreements and investments throughout the world - holds large amounts of foreign debt, USA, Australia, etc. PRs are hardly some powerhouse of employ. Disallowing foreigners during a pandemic is good policy. PRs pay taxes, which allows them to partake of the benefits provided by certain aspects infrastructure. PRs are not citizens and indeed owe fealty to literally, foreign governments which include military service and sanctioned benefits. It is not discrimination, that is complete hyperbole - for examples of discrimination in such less than benign states such as the USA and various European nations. Japanese citizens are rightfully allowed to return, under specific conditions. Same is true of numerous countries throughout the world, some African countries have completely barred entry to foreigners and only allow citizens. It's a pandemic. It requires tight restrictions and protocols.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Good morning Mr Mroczek, did you sleep well these past 3 months

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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