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EU reinstates travel ban from Japan due to surge in coronavirus cases

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The EU sucks. This is completely backward thinking. The emphasis should be on returning freedoms to normal ASAP .

-48 ( +12 / -60 )

I thought Japan was safe because the J-gov. has been reducing the number of possible tests each day to lower the recorded infection numbers. The number changes coinciding with the foreign press leaving with the Olympics is only coincidental, right?

No one thinks that the J-gov is manipulating numbers for optics for the upcoming election to help the LDP.

42 ( +56 / -14 )

So, tell me again, Aso, how has Japan avoided any covid-19 deaths? This must be embarrassing. But considering how Japan treated its foreign PRs last year, I have no sympathy.

39 ( +48 / -9 )

So travel was fine a month ago with 3x the number of cases but not now?

Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted?

15 ( +30 / -15 )

"The coronavirus has been resolved in some way or other, and the international community's evaluation (of Japan) is extremely high. In that sense, it's certain that he (Suga) fulfilled his role,"

Taro Aso, Sept 7th 2021

14 ( +21 / -7 )

Great. There go my plans of going home for Christmas. Siiiiiiiiiigh.

19 ( +23 / -4 )

Little late don't you think?

14 ( +15 / -1 )

The farce that Kono has precipitated continues…

10 ( +14 / -4 )

No kidding..... :-)

The EU sucks.

-17 ( +9 / -26 )

Just after the Olympics finish hey?

24 ( +25 / -1 )

Purple bacon....

Great. There go my plans of going home for Christmas. Siiiiiiiiiigh.

I feel and share your pain, but this maybe a short lived move. Fingers crossed!

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Travelling is such a hassle these days.

19 ( +21 / -2 )

Not surprising.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Glad I went back to Europe this summer !

The article does not mention it should apply only to non vaccinated people

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Pretty soon nobody will want to go anywhere we can stay home and shrivel up util we kiel over .

Its like we're being herded around like cattle and vaccinated and quarantined.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

Next year its going to be the gamma variant, or the Beijing (Olympics) variant. Is this ever going to end?

14 ( +16 / -2 )

As noted above, the article might want to mention the crucial fact that vaccinated people can still enter most EU countries for any purpose, including tourism. It seems like that huge difference would be worth pointing out, given that still today nobody except Japanese nationals and residents (and never forget how it was and even still is not possible for some of them to come back) can enter Japan.

20 ( +23 / -3 )

Slow reaction as usual from EU bureaucracy - cases have been up for around six weeks!

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Funny.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

@Kumagaijin in a word....NO.

We will always have cycles of this virus outbreak, similar to how we have the flu, what we have to do is get out of these lockdown cycles (although, granted, Japan's is less restrictive than other countries), get vaccinated and learn to live with these cycles. That may also include large overhauls of our healthcare systems, investment in infrastructure and staff to adequately weather each "season".

Or maybe we can just stay home for the rest of our lives except to cram onto trains to go to work like busy little worker ants, but never drink alcohol especially after 8pm.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

I guess the EU doesn't have much confidence in the magic of lowering testing to lower the number of cases.

4 ( +17 / -13 )

The EU are doing the right thing. Who would trust non testing Japan's numbers? A country where you can die in an ambulance whilst being driven hundreds of miles to try and find a hospital that will admit you? Seriously, in a country where we must pay into the medical system by law, the return is abysmal.

11 ( +20 / -9 )

Why? The EU has as much delta sloshing around as Japan. Those getting on planes have been tested and are negative. If you don't have something, you cannot spread it. It is a virus, not a magical curse.

This is political not medical and is an illogical and unfriendly act.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

Firstly, let’s be clear the EU simply waited for the Olympics and Para Olympics to end before imposing the ban.

So despite the vaccine roll out world wide we are regressing again and it has not quite lived up to all the hype and expectations. How long can the world shutter itself? Governments can’t keep producing currency out of thin air indefinitely. Will the human race have to be given a booster shot every 6 months? How will that work with a world population creeping up on 8 billion? I can see this turning into the “never ending story”.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Slow reaction as usual from EU bureaucracy - cases have been up for around six weeks!

Exactly! Just as the number of cases plummet, they decide to do this? Ridiculous, also the size of the 'wave' is more like a ripple compared to Europe

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

EU residents can’t travel to Japan, while residents of Japan if fully vaccinated could freely enter some EU countries. Tell me if I am wrong about JP/ EU agreement. It’s more likely that EU are reacting to the unfairness or ambiguity in the agreement. Can’t blame the EU for their decision.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

As of today, according to the N Y Times, 50% of Japan has had both shots.

Hurray. About time.

vaccinated people can still enter most EU countries for any purpose, including tourism.

So, as said previously, most of the EU will let us visit, but Japan is making our return difficult and time consuming.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

And yes this is also political and it was about time: there have been lots of negotiations going on since Japanese national have been allowed into the EU for basically the whole time for any purpose, despite the fact that EU medical authorities consider the number of tests done in Japan insufficient to evaluate the real spread of the disease. Decision to leave the door open was therefore taken because of the longstanding economic and cultural ties rather than the health performance of Japan, which is difficult to demonstrate. Nevertheless, EU citizens have not been able and still can not enter Japan, which also refuses to consider different treatment for EU vaccinated people but asks for different treatment for Japanese vaccinated people and its paper printed (because it’s easier to fax probably) vaccination passport. We will see how long it will take for Japan to give some concessions to the EU, hopefully shame will work better than logic has worked so far.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

I still remember Abe and Aso words at the beginning of the pandemic “Japan world’s role model” and “Japanese civilized superiority”.

And now after a few years we can clearly say the opposite.

Do not do as the Japanese model.

The European Union did well to put such ban on a country lead by old people unable to control this pandemic.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Simian LaneToday  07:06 am JST

The EU sucks. This is completely backward thinking. The emphasis should be on returning freedoms to normal ASAP

And here is the nationalistic right wing senseless comment of the day.

For sure objectivity and pragmatism aren’t your virtues.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

I thought Japan was safe because the J-gov. has been reducing the number of possible tests each day to lower the recorded infection numbers. The number changes coinciding with the foreign press leaving with the Olympics is only coincidental, right?

No one thinks that the J-gov is manipulating numbers for optics for the upcoming election to help the LDP.

Exactly! Actions speak louder than words. And I guess that the EU doesn't believe the numbers coming out of Japan either. Just today, there was an article here saying how Japan has done better than other developed countries. Well actions speak louder than words.

So, tell me again, Aso, how has Japan avoided any covid-19 deaths? This must be embarrassing. But considering how Japan treated its foreign PRs last year, I have no sympathy.

EXACTLY!!! Me neither! NONE!

As noted above, the article might want to mention the crucial fact that vaccinated people can still enter most EU countries for any purpose, including tourism. It seems like that huge difference would be worth pointing out, given that still today nobody except Japanese nationals and residents (and never forget how it was and even still is not possible for some of them to come back) can enter Japan.

another good point!

EU residents can’t travel to Japan, while residents of Japan if fully vaccinated could freely enter some EU countries. Tell me if I am wrong about JP/ EU agreement. It’s more likely that EU are reacting to the unfairness or ambiguity in the agreement. Can’t blame the EU for their decision.

I hope they are, and if that's the case, good on them!!

And yes this is also political and it was about time: there have been lots of negotiations going on since Japanese national have been allowed into the EU for basically the whole time for any purpose, despite the fact that EU medical authorities consider the number of tests done in Japan insufficient to evaluate the real spread of the disease. Decision to leave the door open was therefore taken because of the longstanding economic and cultural ties rather than the health performance of Japan, which is difficult to demonstrate. Nevertheless, EU citizens have not been able and still can not enter Japan, which also refuses to consider different treatment for EU vaccinated people but asks for different treatment for Japanese vaccinated people and its paper printed (because it’s easier to fax probably) vaccination passport.

agree!

We will see how long it will take for Japan to give some concessions to the EU, hopefully shame will work better than logic has worked so far.

In Japan, shame ALWAYS works- logic NEVER!

0 ( +8 / -8 )

I really think that this on/off approach to various restrictions on life/travel/work etc are now a fact of life. Our masters dont know any other way to proceed. All this guff about "learning to live with Covid" will not fly as long as the current fear and hysteria climate is in effect. Bolstered by media and government clamour. Sad.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Well done from EU and Germany!

0 ( +7 / -7 )

@Pukey

Aso, how has Japan avoided any covid-19 deaths? 

1) Japanese are denied COVID testing and hospital admission.

2) Hundreds of thousands are forced to recuperate at home.

3) Currently more than 100K COVID+ patients are denied admission to hospital.

4) Anyone who dies at home is listed as having died of "Pneumonia" or "Unknown causes".

5) This is how Japan keeps COVID death count low.

15 ( +22 / -7 )

@Samit Basu

It has become so obvious by now.

I have been saying Japanese numbers are magical ones compare to rest of the world.

But on a scientific basis, there is no cure so far so covid and corresponding death rates shall be comparable to other countries, even surely higher since population is very old.

Japan is now paying the consequences harshly.

I still wonder why so many will vote LDP. I fact I know it is sheepish behaviour due to cultural education.

Future demography figures will show the reality of Covid sooner or later.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Reciprocity comes only after Olympic games.

Heavy hypocrisy from both sides anyway. Eu is not better than Japan, with two extreme sides.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

EU is in chaos, no wonder the UK left. Still seen no evidence of number manipulation and hidden deaths by the Japanese government. The claims have no evidence and are tiresome.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

Does the EU know something about the numbers we don't? Cases seem to be gong down recently. Why add Japan now?

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

The EU has never accused Japan of manipulating numbers, but simply of not running enough tests compared to its population to allow a decent understanding of the actual spread of the virus. As for the deaths, data for 2020 were clear and Japan was among the few countries not to show a significant difference in the total number of deaths over the year compared to ‘normal’ times (actually having less deaths than in the previous 11 years).

This decision is purely political because Japan has in asking others to be treated like ita citizens are special without giving anything in exchange.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

lolwutToday  11:09 am JST

Does the EU know something about the numbers we don't? Cases seem to be gong down recently. Why add Japan now?

No it knows exactly what we know just it isn't blind and naive as some here.

It like every other logical place lowers testing after cases start dropping and understands that cases falling only after testing has been dramatically reduced is smoke and mirrors and artificially lowering case numbers.

So it seems the EU and I suspect other countries have finally caught on to the Japan "miracle" of low covid.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

11.16 poster

There is no evidence that the EU thinks Japan has been hiding numbers or evidence that numbers have been hidden. The EU just makes up daft rules and policies all the time, that’s why it’s a basket case.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Amazing how the timing fitted in perfectly with the Olympics.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

At Zichi! International yes, but domestic is fantastic.

akyoto next week and almost all seats open on the Shinkansen as of this morning. Hotel wrote back and said 17% capacity. I know the manager so get info.

Booked the special six day Kanko Special train called the 36+3 Train all around the island of Kyushu for December. Lorr Yee s of open space. In the past you had to book these fancy trains a year in advance.

Definitely international is a hassle, but to see beautiful Japan hassle free is fabulous to say the least.

perhaps the EU is punishing Japan for making it a real hassle for them to come here. Payback?

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

There is no evidence that the EU thinks Japan has been hiding numbers or evidence that numbers have been hidden. 

Actually there is plenty of evidence and has been for some time as the EU, UK, Canada and a whole host of countries also the WHO have been telling Japan it needs to test properly and that it's testing criteria and restrictions as well as number of tests are far to restrictive and low.

This has been coming for some time now as the rest of the world has lost patience with Japan and playing nice and asking nicely hasn't worked.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Does this apply to their own citizens?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

ShinkansenCaboose

At Zichi! International yes, but domestic is fantastic.

Yes, you boast frequently about your trips but several times I asked you several questions but you didn't reply?

You could also remain in your prefecture and enjoy the sites there. I really only need to walk to my nearest beach to enjoy it.

I have not been outside of our prefecture since the start of the pandemic.

Most people actually need to work so maybe a little less boasting would be better.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The article does not mention it should apply only to non vaccinated people

vaccine passports are coming, either have to live with it or say home

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Funny how the Japan apologists and the LDP are desperately to fight back what rightfully the European Union enforced.

The Jiminto/Nippon Kaigi/NHK propaganda works only within it’s dead brainwashed media but not to a free continent of half billion people.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The covid in the UK is a far more dangerous situation, with greater covid cases and deaths than in Japan. The Delta variant taking its toll. And more people are fully vaccinated than in Japan but the pandemic rolls on.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Why add Japan now?

currently Japan has highest infections and hospitalization in the entire 19months of the pandemic, and you ask that question?

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Reckless

Does this apply to their own citizens?

No, but will need tests and quarantines.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There is no evidence that the EU thinks Japan has been hiding numbers or evidence that numbers have been hidden.

currently Japan has highest infections and hospitalization in the entire 19months of the pandemic, even with its limited testing. EU to Japan, get youre shite together and well talk again

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Very wise move.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

@Simian Lane

As much as you would like it to be, we can’t all just close our eyes, make a wish and everything will go back to life as it was.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A day late and a dollar short. Cases are rapidly falling.

Delta will soon be diminished in Japan thanks to vaccinations and community spread.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Still waiting for evidence, links maybe that this decision was made because Japan is concealing numbers. I doubt they exist, this is speculation and a conspiracy theory without any basis in fact.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

Thank you LDP for this medical catastrophe. You cheerfully watched the Olympics as the virus spread

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Still waiting for evidence, links maybe that this decision was made because Japan is concealing numbers. I doubt they exist, this is speculation and a conspiracy theory without any basis in fact.

A bit like your long Covid claims?

What’s good for the goose, Steve.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

EU countries decide on their own so this is more like advice. Check the country specific regulations. Many allow fully vaccinated to enter without any restrictions.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If you’re vaccinated you’re not concerned.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Travel during a Global Pandemic is very stupid anyway.

And all this talk about being vaccinated making you immune is just utter rubbish, its proven that you can still get and be a carried of the virus, and after 6 months or so, the effectiveness of your vaccination has reduced, so what value is your vaccination passport then ?

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Samit Basu....

4) Anyone who dies at home is listed as having died of "Pneumonia" or "Unknown causes".

5) This is how Japan keeps COVID death count low.

Simply NOT TRUE! But of course you know that.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

mmwkdw....

You are correct. The vaccine isn't perfect, vaccinated people CAN still get the virus. BUT they are much less likely to end up in hospital or have serious symptoms.Their outcome is much better than the non vaccinated.Most other vaccines also lose some of their effectiveness over time. Nothing new here.

What do you suggest? Scrap the vaccines until they make one that is 100% perfect?

There hasn't been one yet for any virus.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Still waiting for evidence, links maybe that this decision was made because Japan is concealing numbers. I doubt they exist, this is speculation and a conspiracy theory without any basis in fact.

Stick around another 10 to 20 years, that is about the average time before inventions start and the truth comes out. That was how it went for the last several health scandals/cover-ups went

The LDP leopard does change it's spots, hasn't in 70 years not about to change now.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Mr Kipling, why do you keep repeating the truth? Don’t you get tired?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

nandakandamada....

Mr Kipling, why do you keep repeating the truth? Don’t you get tired?

LOL.... yes, very tired.

However, I just check on the German government site and this restriction is ONLY for NON VACCINATED travelers... Quite a vital piece of information to skip from the story.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Recently my wife's mother went into a coma, close to death so I told her to return home (Japan). She told me that Japan enforces a 15-day quarantine on even Japanese returning fully vaccinated. Seeing as funerals in Japan are typically the following day, that is going to be a missed event. Please don't complain when it's the other way round: now you know how we feel.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

FireyRei the pledge that returnees sign when back in Japan for the quarantine has intentionally vague language with basically only one obligation (not taking public transport), and is usually complemented by oral communication suggesting some activities that are actually ok (like taking a walk/run, going for groceries).

While as a resident who could lose the right to stay in Japan I stayed home the whole time (despite vaccination and 3 pcr tests in 90 hours), my experience is that Japanese tend to interpret the pledge in a more flexible way, including going to work every day by car (the pledge says to avoid direct contact with people, they consider the distance between desks enough to comply…).

So if going to the possible funeral by private transport and remaining at some distance from people she doesn’t live with at home, I would say as a Japanese your wife would be able to pay her respects. Of course if it was the mother of a 30 years foreign permanent resident, things wouldn’t work that easily and she would probably end up in the news and deported.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It like every other logical place lowers testing after cases start dropping and understands that cases falling only after testing has been dramatically reduced is smoke and mirrors and artificially lowering case numbers.

Fake fake fake. Testing did not go down before cases. The official stats from the official reporting website show clearly it was the other way round. Cases have fallen far faster than testing.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

This is only happening because Japan refuse to let in vaccinated EU nationals. It happened with the US a few weeks ago. Why do you think they would ban the US and Japan but not the UK?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This decision come from the European council, they are reviewing every 2 weeks :

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/09/09/covid-19-council-adds-uruguay-and-removes-six-countries-from-the-list-of-countries-for-which-travel-restrictions-should-be-lifted/

There are criteria to make decision :

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/infographics/covid19-travel-restrictions-third-countries/

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/coronavirus/covid-19-travel-into-the-eu/

not more than 75 new COVID-19 cases per 100 000 inhabitants over the last 14 days

a stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days

more than 300 tests per 100 000 inhabitants conducted over the previous seven days, if the data is available to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

not more than 4% positive tests among all COVID-19 tests carried out in the previous seven days, if the data is available to the ECDC

the nature of the virus present in a country, in particular whether variants of interest or concern have been detected

the country's overall response to COVID-19, taking into account available information, including on aspects such as surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Louis, thank you for the information. Obviously the last thing my wife would want is getting in trouble with the law if she were caught out when supposed to be in (quarantine). However, given the circumstances she would most likely be able to go in a family car, and leave soon after. For now her mother is stable, but obviously close to the end. We are preparing for that, but this whole pandemic has seriously damaged quality of life. Her best friend died earlier this year and couldn't go for that funeral... Still, millions around the world have experienced the same, unfortunately.

The irony though: she is more likely to catch Covid inside Japan with its much higher numbers of infected than bring it with her into Japan - we are experiencing very low numbers in Italy now.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If the traveler is vaccinated (and has proof), seems unfair to deny the traveler entry.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ Simian Lane. "The EU sucks. This is completely backward thinking. The emphasis should be on returning freedoms to normal ASAP". Please get your facts right before you write a comment. The UK currently has the highest infection rates and deaths in Europe. Most European countries are refusing British tourists and there are many restrictions. Any scientific facts/ data you can quote are welcome before you talk about freedoms.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Very wise and good decision.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Profound @TARATANKITAOKA 5:27pm. That’s twice today on this topic. Will you also be “doubling down” on Your expressed support for PM Suga’s frequent, inconsistent policies, as well?

*- @TARATANKITAOKA 5:27pm**: “Very wise and good decision.” - *

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@ wandelust. 'Slow reaction as usual from EU bureaucracy - cases have been up for around six weeks!' Why so much interest in criticising the EU and spreading fake news? Have you checked the latest covid figures in the UK ? It has the highest rate of infections and deaths currently. Please get your facts right.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If the traveler is vaccinated (and has proof), seems unfair to deny the traveler entry.

Agreed but Japan denied it first.

It's more a diplomatic strike back.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Good job JGov in fighting the virus!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

For crying out loud, how much longer are people going to put up with this idiocy... Its been 2 years, the world hasn't collapsed. What are governments doing to actually support the resumption of normal life. Nothing.

About the only time I've ever agreed with Boris Johnson.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

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