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12,000 sign petition to ease Japan's tight entry rules over Omicron

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Not this year, no way.

-16 ( +14 / -30 )

It is a a mystery who is being protected and from what.

Despite a low booster rate, still no deaths in U.S. Many Omicron "hospitalizations" are incidental, meaning people were admitted for something else. Omicron is not putting a strain on hospitals.

5 ( +19 / -14 )

Probably business people who need their "interns" or "Japanese language students" (slaves)

That leaves 125,000,000 - 12,000 OK with the restrictions.

1 ( +14 / -13 )

Japan has banned new entries by foreigners worldwide since Nov 30, following increasing reports on the highly contagious variant. Even entry of spouses and children of Japanese nationals or permanent residents is denied unless they are in "special exceptional circumstances."

Really? I have colleagues on spouse visas, long term residents and permanent residents who recently went home to visit family over the holidays and they seemed fine coming back into the country, as long as they quarantined at home?

10 ( +15 / -5 )

I find some of the entry process illogical and inefficient. And I feel sorry for people having difficulty for it. Many of them are victims of sensationalism, culture of fear and red-tapes rather than real virus threat.

England is going further for re-opening despite Omicron-led resurgence. I don't yet praise nor blame the decision, but only look at it out of curiosity.

COVID: Pre-departure tests and travel isolation scrapped in England

https://news.sky.com/story/travel-industry-says-scrapping-testing-would-have-no-real-impact-on-omicron-spread-12509310

10 ( +12 / -2 )

The petition addressed to Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi says that the "excessive" border controls have affected those who want to see their families living overseas.

Shouldnt this read "people from overseas wanting to see their families living in Japan?"

People are free to leave, and if they are Japanese, free to return as well!

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Travel should not be restricted for those who are double vaccinated and test negative to a rapid PCR test. The world cannot continue with these excessive travel bans. Covid is here to stay and we have to live with it, which does not mean keeping countries isolated indefinitely.

12 ( +19 / -7 )

It should be 12 million.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Really? I have colleagues on spouse visas, long term residents and permanent residents who recently went home to visit family over the holidays and they seemed fine coming back into the country, as long as they quarantined at home?

You may be right or the article info is wrong or un-updated as I know some similar cases. A problem for the government is that things keep changing irregularly and in a very short notice, and that largely affects visitors (and mostly their wallets, too). It's hard to predict what will come next and when.

The government may try to discourage inbound moves altogether for a while. But free movement is civil rights, and their measure is negligence and rights infringement.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

As long as Citizens and tax paying residents are allowed to return, which they are then Japan can do as they see fit. 12,000 people wasting their time.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

Wish I had known about this petition!

I would have certainly signed it!

6 ( +12 / -6 )

People are free to leave, and if they are Japanese, free to return as well!

Exactly!

Also PRs can come back, but have to quarantine.

The borders are closed basically for tourists or people without a long term valid visa.

My japanese colleague came back from South Africa middle of december..

He was quarantined at a Hotel in Narita for 5 days. This hotel was chosen by the government and he was guided to this hotel by some airport staff.

After that he stayed another 2 weeks in a Tokyo Hotel. This is basically our company rule and the hotel is also chosen by our company.

From monday he will come back to work at our Tokyo branch.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Even entry of spouses and children of Japanese nationals or permanent residents is denied

This is wrong!

2 ( +8 / -6 )

That pandemic isn’t so new, that they are in that situation by no own influence or emerging, so why don’t they just stay where they think they belong to but still insist in traveling (and included further virus spreading)? Their really strange issues shouldn’t be handled quickly and to their will, if they don’t even can abide to the simplest virus anti-spreading measures, like a much less moving around all the time and into all planet’s corners. What can be such an important reason for that it really needs their presence physically there, where they once moved or fled away from? Almost or exactly none.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

I just returned from Canada where I easily got the booster right away. No vouchers needed.

coming back into Japan is a total nightmare. Took me six hours at Haneda then three nights in a lousy business hotel. I had to go back so willing to accept the hassle but it was cruel and unusual.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

If you want to keep the omicron away seal the country. Nobody can enter or Leave. Letting only Japanese are into the country is useless as virus doesn't read your nationality. But Japanese has their right to enter their own country which I didn't see as a bad move. My opinion is let the fully vaccinated people are in with mandatory two weeks quarantine at home. designated countries should stay at government provided facility as the officials say.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

@Sven Asai,

so why don’t they just stay where they think they belong to but still insist in traveling (and included further virus spreading)? 

Do you think they are travelling for fun? And without a negative test result nobody can travel either.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I flew into Narita a week ago, took me hours to pass immigration even with the correct paperwork because some jobsworth wanted an extra word added to my RT-PCR test report. The irony of someone in immigration who doesn't speak English demanding the inclusion of an English word which he couldn't pronounce anyway...

A few international calls later and the revised document was mailed to my phone, which apparently was good enough...

I lost count of the number of people I showed my paperwork to, quite a farce. Seems the only necessary step in the process was yet another PCR test, which basically renders all the acquired documentation useless.

coming back into Japan is a total nightmare. 

18 ( +21 / -3 )

My opinion is let the fully vaccinated people are in with mandatory two weeks quarantine at home. designated countries should stay at government provided facility as the officials say.

An uneducated opinion. Disappointing. Please explain the point of such restrictions given that Omicron is already prevalent and spreading rapidly throughout Japan?

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Honestly, most of you seem to have no idea about the current rules. The border is open only for people who already have residence in Japan through a visa. New visas aren’t issued at all and first time entries aren’t allowed, even for people who plan on being in Japan for a long term. Some people have been waiting for almost 2 years by now, I am waiting for 10 months.

To all the foreigners posting things like there is no need to open the border: don’t forget you’ve been someone wanting to enter Japan too at some point.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

Even with a departing negative result and a negative result on arrival, the Japanese quarantine office still treats returnees as infected as whilst quarantining in isolation the direction is to wear a mask…

Overkill?

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Japan should and probably will ignore that request which in my opinion is a great news.

This is Japan right to protect their border.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

Gobshite...

The irony of someone in immigration who doesn't speak English demanding the inclusion of an English word which he couldn't pronounce anyway...

The real irony is that a traveler had prior warning of what was required on his PCR form but didn't check with the testing clinic that they would word the document correctly for Japan's admittedly overzealous demands. Its all laid out for you, if you couldn't be bothered read or comply with the regulations, you shouldn't be complaining about a staff member whose job it is to check those regulations.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

@Rob Nads,

Please explain the point of such restrictions given that Omicron is already prevalent and spreading rapidly throughout Japan?

It's only for those entering Japan.

No need to worry about the current omicron status. Look at hospitalizations and mortality rates. Completely different compared to Delta. Find out more about the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for omicron infections. Omicron is a disease that goes away in 3 days and delta takes 5-6 days.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Mid-December polling around Japan regarding the abrupt and strict border closing had about 90% support among citizens.

Rarely does any issue get this much approval.

Possibly Japan may gradually re-open like it tried to do in November for new long-term visa holders (students and new workers) but remember, that was decided behind closed doors after the national Lower House Diet election.

And in case you didn't notice, the issue regarding border controls was not mentioned at all during the campaigning by any party last autumn. Probably because loosening the rules was a loosing position... hence the 90% support for strictly closing).

So maybe there may be a re-opening for students/workers this spring, but as far as letting in tourists again, well, the Upper House Diet election is slated for this July. Therefore, expect no movement or even mention of the issue (as far as tourists at least) until after then.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Most of the Japanese I've talked to are in favor of strict entry rules. I agree.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Question for those commenting: does everyone in Japan pretty much expect that tourism to will be forbidden for the entire 2022 summer season, regardless of what happens from here with respect to the pandemic? Very interested to know the consensus on this subject.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Mike Tang

does everyone in Japan pretty much expect that tourism to will be forbidden for the entire 2022 summer season

I think, if Omicron will continue to stay mild worldwide, and if no new troublesome variant will appear, Japan will allow tourists to come back by summer.

Japan needs tourists, like any other country in the world too.

That is what I think.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

well its still too early to plan any travel abroad.

because travel abroad now is not one we use to know before.nothing to enjoy just get abused by this and that and pay for this abusement as well.

lets wait more once sitaution worldwide will get more calm.better be safe than sorry.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Given the community spread of Omicron in Japan that is now occurring, it’s hard to see what purpose of maintaining the strict border closures is.

Well, aside from the BS political reasons other commenters have noted.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@Mr Kipling “of what was required on his PCR form but didn't check with the testing clinic that they would word the document correctly for Japan's admittedly overzealous demands. Its all laid out for you, if you couldn't be bothered read or comply with the regulations, you shouldn't be complaining about a staff member whose job it is to check those regulations.”

Life would be wonderful if it was that easy. I had a document, signed and stamped from the Japanese embassy in the country where I had to travel back from, indicating the validity of the PCR test taken and the exact correspondence of each word with the requirements indicated by the government. But the PCR test certificate itself, issued in English and 2 other languages by the government of that country, with a QR code linking to a secured governmental health agency website with the full testing report, did not have one of the exact wordings (in the abbreviations!) indicated in the guidelines. SonI still spent an incredible amount of time before the person just hand-wrote herself that word in the document and I was magically allowed to continue to next dozens checks. The problem is the surreal belief that the entire rest of the world should comply not with Japan’s health and security requirements, which everyone is happy to do for our own and others’ safety, but with its paper-and-hanko-cum-fax Edo administrative procedures.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

@Mike,

Next main intake is on April, lot of students are waiting about 2 years so far. There are lot of dependents of foreigners waiting for enter here. I did a research regarding this on social media and hoping the government will come up with a some sort of relax rules in February. But for business travelers and tourists will not be able to enter until May-June I guess.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

New Zealand and Taiwan have similarly strict border rules, until recently Australia did as well, and all the Pacific island countries do. What's common with Japan? These are all islands, it's an island mentality and a typical island policy. Hard for someone from Europe to understand, but it makes sense to people from island countries. The Japanese around me all think that this border state will continue for at least several more years.

@Mike Tang

No, tourists will not be allowed this year at least. Just yesterday Go To Travel was postponed for after Omicron. They'll surely let in students and factory workers, in the long term they might continue the halted plan for organizing strictly monitored group tours with a set itinerary (where the group is only allowed to enter hotels and facilities designed in advance permission), but freely moving individual tourists will not be allowed for quite a long time. Unless Covid magically disappears, which it is obviously not. Vaccinations don't really matter, because they can't stop the waves. After the 6th wave, they'll start preparing for the 7th and so on.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'll bet that if the world treated Japan the same way they would open up real quick, and I wish that they would. It seems that the japanese are very good at having their cake and eating it too.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Of all the trivial articles JT posts, why wasn't this petition written about while it was open for signatures? I certainly would have signed, and so would many friends here who are desperate to visit family, are fully vaccinated and taking regular tests.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

I had to go back so willing to accept the hassle but it was cruel and unusual.

Yup. welcome (back) to Japan.

Please explain the point of such restrictions given that Omicron is already prevalent and spreading rapidly throughout Japan?

This is Japan. When have they ever had a point to most of their rules??

Given the community spread of Omicron in Japan that is now occurring, it’s hard to see what purpose of maintaining the strict border closures is.

they've always wanted to be isolated. They got their chance and now like McDonalds, they're loving it.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

where can I sign the anti-petition and make it 11,999 people?

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Of all the trivial articles JT posts, why wasn't this petition written about while it was open for signatures?

Because the powers that be that run this site probably did not want ANY of us posters here signing it. That's what I think.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

@factchecker,

There was a post in Japan Today too. But the gathering was happen in Social Media mainly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Although I don’t like what has happened concerning International Travel / Arrivals into Japan, I won’t condemn the government’s reactions to each new strain….I’m long overdue for an Onsen trip…how are they making out in all this? Are onsen basically shut down? Inquiring minds want to know

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No can't do.

Please continue closing the borders, learn from China.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

I have no issue with the quarantining, however, the length is unreasonable and there is no basis for 2 weeks. Most countries who are having their citizens quarantining the max is usually 7 days which is more than plenty especially if you are having to do a PCR test 3 days prior to returning and one when you arrive at the airport.

Permit people to do a home PCR test at the end where they can send in a photo with themselves holding the negative proof of their results.

Rounding up, it has been 2 years and this craziness of quarantining should have begun at the very start of COVID, however, it was not and now we have to use common sense moving forward.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Don't think is gonna happen anytime soon. Not with how bad it is currently around the world. Also problem is that is now winter. Covid spreading faster during this season and because of the weather it would be hard for people to go to testing site or even in fact leave the house.

I think borders easing up would probably be during spring season. People just gonna have to endure 1-2 more months . You won't die from giving up 2months of your life not able to enter Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“Given the community spread of Omicron in Japan that is now occurring, it’s hard to see what purpose of maintaining the strict border closures is.”

so you want to make the current situation worse? Something like in the US? Keep on dreaming!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

That leaves 125,000,000 - 12,000 OK with the restrictions.

I never even heard of it, so how could I sign it.

But you are right the majority of Japanese with no family overseas aren't going to care, especially with the way the media portrays anyone coming into Japan as "the bad guys".

As like many of us, I wanted to take my kids to see their grandparents for the first time in 2.5 years, and even had a flight booked for the holidays, but the Omicron idiocy ruined that. With Japan changing its already strict border protocols every day at midnight like some tinkering madman it was just to risky. And there is also the fact that they won't even let you take a connecting flight, so if you don't live in the Tokyo area and flights from your country only go there, you are basically screwed...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Are onsen basically shut down? Inquiring minds want to know

Nothing is shut down in Japan other than the borders.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

“Japan should and probably will ignore that request which in my opinion is a great news. 

This is Japan right to protect their border.”

This, I agree w you.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

coming back into Japan is a total nightmare”

and yet you came back.welcome!

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

People are stating false information on here. If you are Japanese or a foreign resident in Japan, you can leave and come back into the country. You just have to follow the 2 week quarantine after arrival.

I’m an American with a spouse visa and just returned back to Japan totally fine a few weeks ago.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

People are stating false information on here. If you are Japanese or a foreign resident in Japan, you can leave and come back into the country. You just have to follow the 2 week quarantine after arrival.

I don't blame people for being confused, as the way the Japanese government categorizes it is idiotic. The "special exceptional circumstances" they speak of actually applies to most people living in Japan. I guess they are giving themselves wiggle room to change the rules and deny you entry at any time.

I’m an American with a spouse visa and just returned back to Japan totally fine a few weeks ago.

But now there are additional forced designated hotel quarantines before you can quarantine at home, depending on where you have visited. For the USA, this would be a 3 day quarantine or 6 day quarantine depending on which state(s) you visited.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Why they can’t ban US military???

and why they are banned students and foreign workers.

if they don’t want foreign to come their country, why they are continually giving visa?? Why ?? Why ????

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@nibek32 the article is right, and while those already having the residence status before the pandemic and restrictions started can now leave the country and come back more or less safely (with the regular exception of entire regions being denied return for months), this does absolutely not apply to anyone who did not have residence status and could not obtain it anymore in the last two full years. That means thousands of families whose Japanese half had to return to Japan for work and whose relatives cannot enter the country, foreigners who are resident here but cannot be joined by their own children, workers who obtained jobs (and renounced to other possibilities and often resigned from their previous jobs), students who obtained scholarships (and gave up their jobs and other choices), and even quite a lot of children born abroad during the last two years who could not obtain a Japanese passport yet, among other reasons because the Japanese parent needs to be there for that.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Dumb.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

where can I sign the anti-petition and make it 11,999 people?"

Maybe you could consult with the mayor of Nagoya and his uyo friends...seem to be in the know regarding faking petitions.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Big error to believe that Japan is an open country. The opening was somewhat forced after WW2. Japanese prefer to live amongst themselves. Only philippine and thai ladies welcome. I love Japan, and I love my japanese girlfriend. We are going through a very hard time. I‘m from Switzerland, where we always welcome foreigners. The border closings are absolutely not understandable. A nightmare for lovers. But this is the real Japan. Very sad.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"Even entry of spouses and children of Japanese nationals or permanent residents is denied unless they are in "special exceptional circumstances." This is a basic violation of human rights, something that the Japanese system of Justice is well-known for.

EXACTLY! And not just OURS but also our JAPANESE spouses and children's as well.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

There are myriad rules in the mix for those coming back but I respect the staff going through the motions and handing out the reams of paper to be signed and stamped.

The last hurdle was immigration where I was ready to collapse having walked around the bowels of KIX.

But then come the cold bentos...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Many of the ICUs in America are completely filled up with Covid patients, but close to 100% of those patients are not fully vaccinated. The importance of the vaccines cannot be overstated at this point in the pandemic. Any society with a healthy vaccination program would seem to be protected from the worst outcomes of the Omicron variant, regardless of its immigration policies.

In the latest issue of Scientific American magazine, there is a partial reprint of an article that the magazine published in 1872. The article stressed the importance of "revaccinations" in the battle against small pox. Instead of "revaccinations," today we use the term booster shots. The point is that vaccinations and booster shots as a strategy to fight disease has been around for more than a hundred years. The article also stated that it is (was) near impossible to get vaccination rates much higher, which was considered at that time to be very unfortunate.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Do you think they are travelling for fun?

@Ninja Yes, I think exactly so. In the very most cases they travel irresponsibly and for fun or unnecessary reasons. There are only a very few , single digit cases, for that they have really something to do that they can’t do otherwise, online, by mail or embassy etc.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's absurd to ban all entries into Japan as the virus is already in the country. A better plan would be a thoughtful hygiene protocol, like 36 hours PCR test Pre departure flight from overseas, as this is a time window which certainly will detect any already infected. Then Test upon arrival an a 7 day self isolation with a test on day 2 5 and 7 , based on data that should catch any viral load. It would be a bit of an administrative hassle but properly implemented together with full vaccination and booster shot for the whole population the health care system would not be put under too much strain. we can not any longer continue with these travel bans and restrictions as the point has reached where people are loosing their livelihood an dafter Covid a poverty wave will follow then people will die simply because they become impoverished thats not what anyone wants !

1 ( +1 / -0 )

3 days isolation followed by another test is enough to catch most cases. Requiring 6 days for some states or provinces from the same country is beyond ridiculous, especially when you are going home to isolate for the rest of the 2 weeks anyway. In Tokyo they don't have enough hotel rooms now and are sending some people to other areas by plane to isolate and then back to Tokyo again (they won't let you take a connecting flight though..)

They also took areas known for the more dangerous delta variant off the 3/6 day isolation list to add more "Omicron areas". (Again, ridiculous because some countries might not even be checking for Omicron. If they have a lot of Delta no doubt Omicron is rampant as well).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think they should even get rid of the 3 day isolation though unless someone from the same flight tested positive on the initial entry test.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

One who empathized with you @AshleyShiba 7:32pm when you wrote about fears & family hardships due to the mishandling of the pandemic but have to call it out when you contribute to misinformation.

The truth is, the first ‘publicized’ case in Japan was Dec 17, 2021. AND, it was a Japanese person returning from abroad to Tokyo.

It was initially headlined as “arrival from the U.S.but it turned out to be a Japanese national who violated quarantine and saw a boyfriend immediately upon her return to Japan. Later in the same day, he spread it to family and his soccer team:

Dec 17, 2021 - “https://japantoday.com/category/national/tokyo-finds-omicron-case-in-us-arrival-isolating-at-home”

The following should be considered “MISINFORMATION”:

- @Ashley Shiba 7:32pm: I don't care for the blame game, however, Japan locked down quickly this time, they have been very strict with the quarantine and testing before arrival and upon arrival, however, it appears the US military do not hold the same standards and nor were they following Japan's rules. The first break out of the Omicron appears in Okinawa, and it was reported by the US military there were a high number of cases and with a high number of Okinawans working on the base and all the while living off can surely be traced back to the base. In addition, the US has a wicked number of cases of COVID and I believe in the millions, and with the military being primarily young men and women traveling the world and feeling safe having taken the vaccine and no mask mandate we must assume where it started from.”

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For the Japanese democratic system a petition is just a survey and will not make a difference to their border entry and especially because there's a pandemic in case you haven't noticed !!

The borders not closed its strictly regulated and if you dont like Japanese rules then your free to Leave the country.

Visiting family members during a pandemic is not conducive to stimulating the economy or mitigation of the virus and foreigners are definitely not a priority in Japan .

How foolish to want the international border to Japan completely open .

How selfish and inconsiderate people have become.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Total locked down immediately to travel in and outside Japan is necessary.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If they are really so concerned (now that omicron is widespread in Japan) then get out the booster vaccine to vulnerable people ASAP as omicron isn't gping to wait. Also it would help if people were allowed to work at least a few days/ week at home until the omicron peak is over.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

NO WAY, keep it locked.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

$10 bucks says the country stays buttoned up like this until 2024.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Its okay to make people Quarantine after travel but the one thing that really sucks is if you live outside of Tokyo you are screwed cause no direct flights anywhere else from overseas. Like I am in Okinawa and there used to be flights from Okinawa to Thailand, Korea, Taiwan and other places. Reopen those types of flights and let the people quarantine ar home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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