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Abe faces backlash after Tokyo residents excluded from Go To travel campaign

47 Comments
By Sakura Murakami

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Suga is another fool. No concrete decision-making and constantly leaving the door open.

Data out this week underscored the plight of the domestic tourism industry, showing just 4 million international visitors in the first half of the year, a tenth of the government's full-year target of 40 million.

With non-Japanese barred from entry this paragraph is nonsensical.

18 ( +22 / -4 )

Before promoting tourism despite the sharp increase of infections within a few days, maybe they can make sure that residents get the promised 100.000Yen? I got the documents end of May, applied in the early beginning of June and still nothing. Neither my friends and collegues have received the funds. Is this government capable of doing at least one thing correctly?

16 ( +21 / -5 )

They'll give up on the campaign by Monday. Whenever they say, "It will not be cancelled," it's just a matter of days.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

@Mable Perhaps it's not the national government's fault. My family received the funds 3 weeks ago, a couple of weeks after submitting the documents.

With their taxes, Tokyo residents are contributing much of the Go To funds, so it's not quite right to exclude them. Might as well scrap the whole program.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Private credit research firm Teikoku Databank said coronavirus-related bankruptcies reached 350 nationwide as of Friday, with hotels and eateries accounting for about 30% of them.

I know about ten business around me that have closed because of the virus.

350 in six months is just extremely small. That works out to about 2 businesses a day in the whole japan . What a joke.

Becoming extremely difficult believing any data released in this country.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Wait until 2021, or until this deadly virus has been controlled with very little community transmission, until tourism is promoted like this.

This campaign does not promote tourism, it promotes deadly viral spread. Stop the campaign.

18 ( +22 / -4 )

They've got 1,543 cases with 286 more today. There shouldn't be any promotion in or out of this disease hot spot.

Why does Tokyo, which almost always gets the perks of investment in this country, feel like they have to get this promotional money?

Maybe your governor should've kept her promise and done something when the infection rate went above 50 like she said she would and kept these clusters from spreading.

Travel on your own dime. Better yet, don't travel at all Tokyoites.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

This is all nonsense.

Look.

If you want to travel, you may! You just won’t get no taxpayer funded kickback for doing so.

I have a bigger problem with government spending taxpayers money on the tourist trips of others. People can pay for themselves.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Give Tokyo people money, problem solved.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I live in Tokyo and think it is better to exclude us. Even without the discount Tokyo summer travelers are likely to infect the whole country. No need to throw gasoline on the inferno.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

"Is this government capable of doing at least one thing correctly?"

To JapanToday poster 'Mable' -- with all due respect, I regret to inform you: Yes, the government are able to do ONE THING correctly. They are able to feather their own nests and to provide for themselves (increase their own salaries). As for the rest of us poor peons, "Let them eat cake!" For the record, I have neither received my promised 100000, nor do I expect to ever receive it...

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Shinzo Abe's 1.35 trillion yen Go To

In all fairness, many other countries are desperate to rescue their travel and hospitality industries, too.

Where Abe fails to read the disintermediation runes is in keeping middlemen on life support despite consumers' increasing preference to deal directly with providers.

Tourists have instant access to the same information as the travel agencies (minus which products provide better margins/incentives to the subjective latter) and want greater choice. Ryokans, restaurants and attractions need to be weaned off a Showa (I'm tempted to say Soviet) model of dependency on the (erstwhile information-hoarding) travel agencies, and transact directly with the lucrative FIT fully independent traveller segment, domestic or otherwise.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

It really does feel like the better response would have been to postpone the entire program until it is safe to do so (maybe next year) rather than just excluding Tokyo.

Its irrational because while Tokyo has the most cases its not the only part of the country with new cases, so just excluding Tokyoites doesn't fully address the criticism that this program poses a public health risk.

And its also unfair because its basically showering free money on people to literally go on vacation everywhere except for those who happen to live in Tokyo.

Really they've just reached a "worst of both worlds" compromise, which is something the Japanese government is particularly skilled at achieving.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Tourism Minister Kazuyoshi Akaba said the decision to exclude Tokyo residents from receiving a 50% government subsidy for domestic trips was "heart-breaking."

It's a shame and disappointing perhaps, but you must have a weak heart if missing out on a discount is enough to break it. Especially when lots of people have just been flooded out of their homes.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

"The decision was made comprehensively by the government with input from experts,"

The panel of bobble heads are still hard at it are they? Humming and hawing in their suits accomplishing absolutely nothing in their countless, pointless meetings.

Postpone the stupid campaign.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

With infection rates seemingly on the rise in Tokyo is it wise to promote travel around the country? It would be interesting to know what the city's R Rate is... you need to get it below 1, and keep it below

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The panel of bobble heads are still hard at it are they? Humming and hawing in their suits accomplishing absolutely nothing in their countless, pointless meetings.

Suits? What happened to the ridiculous floral shirts Abe and Aso were trying to promote as part of the Cool Biz campaign?

They aren’t good at this campaign lark.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

With nearly 300 new. cases in Tokyo today the whole Go To campaign should be scrapped and borders should be closed to tourism. People from Tokyo will still travel regardless of a government subsidy. There will be hot spots all over Japan and they will be back to square one.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A lot of people would not want to go on JTB/JNTO tours, travel in JTB/JNTO coaches, stay in JTB/JNTO ryokans or shop at JTB/JNTO related souvenir shops, in order to get the discount.

Nishimura cited contact tracing efforts that helped quash transmission clusters.

Efforts indeed! A school in Kanagawa was closed due to an infected student. Some pupils at that school attended another school at the same time, but no effort made to contact the other school; infected pupil's best friend (they do everything together) not regarded as a close contact. Other school carries on, though kid's friend now staying at home, then school decides to deep clean at the weekend, five days later. This is real life.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

¥450 million for worthless masks and $30 billion for the ‘Fukushma’ Olympics that may never happen. What else has Abe done right?

Oh, yeah, planning to spend ¥1.3 TRILLION (about $12 Billion) yen to spread the coronavirus all over Japan.

My wife and I got our ¥200,000 a few weeks ago; about four days before we got out ¥180,000 city tax bill. Give with the left hand, take with the right.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Any Tokyoite wishing to be made welcome in Kobe is willing to come and stay with me.

Private toilet and unlimited coffee for 50k man a night...

Don't be excluded!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I believe the reported costs of the PM Abe masks were ¥46.6 billion.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Based on what information is this campaign even an idea? With Tokyo exploding cases 286 on only 4000 tested it's ridiculous that anything other than lockdown is possible. With Tokyoites travelling anyway the virus has already spread, they just don't want to do the tests to confirm it. Instead they'll do their best to spread it! It's nuts

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When referring to "Tokyo" does that mean 23 wards? What about people in Tama or even Ogesawara. All technically Tokyo citizens. Many commuters live in Saitama, Chiba and Yamanashi. And are much closer to central Tokyo.

disregarding that "minor" issue...is it a good idea to encourage travel?

worked well for Florida!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

borscht,

Top comments.

I totally agree with you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I know about ten business around me that have closed because of the virus. 350 in six months is just extremely small. That works out to about 2 businesses a day in the whole japan . What a joke.

Becoming extremely difficult believing any data released in this country.

The 350 number refers to bankruptcies, not businesses that have closed. Not all businesses that close file for bankruptcy. In fact, I would guess only a fraction of them do. Especially where the business is a small family run business, like those most affected by this situation. They just shut their doors and try to find another way to make money. Bankruptcy is only for legally established companies that have debt they are unable to pay off. That likely doesn't describe the corner takoyaki shop or tiny cafe.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

How long is this scheme scheduled to last for?

Do foreign visitors also qualify?

At the moment I can't enter Japan but that may change at the end of the month.

Then I could have a tourist bonanza - 50 per cent off a JR pass? (bought in Japan as you can now do). I'll have 3 months worth please! Plus 50 per cent off Toyoko Inn? And domestic air fares?

What's not to like? I'll go from Yonaguni to Wakkanai, or more probably the other way round.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

With cases on the rise throughout mainland, this campaign should be put on hold until everywhere is safe for everyone!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

One very big "screw you": Tokyo residents who had already booked trips planning to take advantage of this program and now cannot afford it are on the hook for cancellation fees.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

As the nation and people worked hard and cooperated to the government policy to save lives of COVID-19 sufferers, the government also has to work hard to protect livelihood of people who were hit hardest. Tourism engaged are mostly small businesses and it is a matter of life and death for them. Airlines are too big to fail and I think they are not very much worried about their jobs even if their businesses shut down for a while. The government is not saying Tokyo is excluded from the campaign completely. If the situation improves, Tokyo will be included, they say.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So much government bashing but you still expect to receive your free money.

This are the same people complaining about Japan's finances in other areas, but giving out free money even to foreigners living in Japan that's perfectly fine. Give me more.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

So much government bashing but you still expect to receive your free money.

This are the same people complaining about Japan's finances in other areas, but giving out free money even to foreigners living in Japan that's perfectly fine. 

First of all - the money is not "free." If you pay taxes (even if you don't, but that's another story) you are paying that money and deserve your share. The government has no money except what we give it and what they print (thereby devaluing our money). Governments produce nothing, therefore have nothing to give for "free."

And better the government redistribute our money back to us rather than to already wealthy political cronies as is the usual case.

And many of those foreigners you despise pay far more in taxes than you, and provide jobs and produce wealth for this country, and contribute in many other ways.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

A lot of people would not want to go on JTB/JNTO tours, travel in JTB/JNTO coaches, stay in JTB/JNTO ryokans or shop at JTB/JNTO related souvenir shops, in order to get the discount

I looked into that and the cheapest jtb hotel was still twice the price of elsewhere.

Funny how Tokyo kicks off when they get left out despite the fact they're spoilt rotten by the government in comparison to other areas. You could see that when the Tokyo metropolitan government had twice as much cash to spend on coronavirus countermeasures than Osaka, which still had more than any other area. What they need is some Japanese equality... drag them down to the lowest common denominator so everyone suffers equally

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The decision was made comprehensively by the government with input from experts," Akaba told a news conference.

How could these experts get it so wrong. Consigning this misbegotten scheme to the garbage heap where it belongs was by far the wiser option. Excluding Tokyoites is guaranteed to alienate an important constituency and has exposed Abe’s faltering political instincts. If things don’t turn around soon, he’s a dead man walking.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Some critics have said the entire tourism campaign, which also includes subsidies for dining in restaurants and shopping expeditions, should be scrapped given the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Hooray. Sane people exist! Shout it out loud, people. Don't be shy. IT WAS A DUMB IDEA FROM THE BEGINNING!!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Basically, the logic here is that residents of Tokyo are paying with their taxes for a program, they are excluded from, but non-residents will benefit from. If they don't want to cancel, maybe postpone the campaign or at least introduce it step-by-step. For example, start with the least affected prefectures and then have bigger prefectures gradually join throughout the year or next year. Why is it all or nothing?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How about promoting PPE production at home... nearly all the masks I can find locally are made in China... so I won't buy them - who knows what's on them!

For a Nation of Mask Wearers I find it hard to believe that in times such as these, they still haven't figured out that perhaps making Masks locally.... might infact be a good thing !

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tokyoites get their first taste of what it feels like to fund someone elses jolly. If they even give a damn that is.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We live in Tokyo and would like to travel if it's safe. Our kids would like to visit their grandparents in the countryside. Sadly, the grandparents don't want us to come. They would love to see the children, but they are afraid of what their neighbors would say about having visitors from Tokyo. There are so many stories about people from Tokyo visiting their rural home towns and infecting their relatives there.

Now, if it was possible to get tested first, stay isolated enough and know we were not a safety risk, we would love to go. But it seems that testing is not widely available, and the results are not reliable. So we choose to stay here. The Go To campaign will not make a difference to that.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In spite of nobody knows when can control Covid19, that Abe Govt had early prepared huge budget for "GoTo campaign" is wrong fundamentally.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why does the government lack basic mathematical sense? Tokyo might have the highest number of infections but it also has the highest population! If you normalize the infection count by population it's FAR more in line with other prefectures! So this move is just nonsensical and only foments resentment amongst the most populous prefecture! Simply ridiculous! Just scrap the entire campaign!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Very simple solution. Stop all promotions. Save lives.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is a disaster. The campaign uses tax payer money and it excludes Tokyo residents because of the oyajis that visit hostess bars? Maybe Koike had something to do with all this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Originally, the travel campaign was premised on the pandemic having been contained, but they (the Abe government) tried to push it through anyway.

Why am I not surprised?

The ruling class aren't worried about the health of the citizens, they want their business friends to make profits and give kickbacks to them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tokyoites get their first taste of what it feels like to fund someone elses jolly.

And its about time too. The provinces have been ignored, leeched, and leaned on for the jolly of Tokyo since forever not that Tokyoites would ever notice or care.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why does the government lack basic mathematical sense? Tokyo might have the highest number of infections but it also has the highest population! 

You forgot an important variable, Tokyo is testing far more than the other prefectures, climbing to 4000 test while Osaka is performing an average 600 test. Testing in every prefecture is extremely hence the low numbers making Tokyo numbers look out of the J-world.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Put a cap on the age of politicians and voters, way too much deadwood.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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