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COVID-19 entry ban could deter interest in Japan: UK scholars

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By William Hollingworth

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more incredibly insightful thoughts from the experts.... (^_-)

6 ( +20 / -14 )

The wide issues that also need to be considered within the context of the pandemic, it tells non-Japanese people that they are second rate people in Japanese society, whenever there is an issue they will be cast aside, They will be blamed and they will be excluded.

It is time for Japan to open its eyes, I do open them wide that the xenophobic and racist attitude that is so apparent in all levels of society must end and must end now. Personally, I am pleased that people are now seeing Japan for what it is, only in the hope that Japan will change its attitude and the way that it treats foreign people. I do not refer to only white people, but also the people of colour. However, when consideration is given to the way that you treat women in your society it is no wonder that you see other people in the way that you do. It is deplorable that countries such as Kuwait a deemed to treat females more equally than Japan does. The next time you bow your heads it should be in shame.

If you want to be a part of the modern world then you have to fully commit to equality. If you want to commit to equality then it will take a significant shift in the attitude of your politicians and your managers within society.

Without question, Japan is a beautiful and wonderful country Only ruined by the attitude of those who organise society.

So you should tell your country that is not foreign people who brought Omicron to your shores but it was the returning Japanese, your kindred folk.

After two years omicron is now rampant within Japan and it is your attitude that has created this situation, How do you vaccinated and boosted instead of making excuses then this situation should never have occurred.

Now you look for the way out of this situation, a way to save face, so be honest, stand up and tell the truth, you got it wrong and that the isolation policy that you thought would keep the virus out has failed.

3 ( +29 / -26 )

COVID-19 entry ban could deter interest in Japan: UK scholars

Could deter? Some people already changed their study destination, canceling their plan to go to Japan and choose to go to South Korea.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Japan-immigration/Japan-weighs-slightly-easing-omicron-entry-ban-for-foreign-students

6 ( +22 / -16 )

"Japan is letting its own people out to study...this is going to create discord."

No kidding! I wonder if he stated this with a straight face, or was he snickering, and sucking his teeth at the same time?

-8 ( +11 / -19 )

The wide issues that also need to be considered within the context of the pandemic,

Wrong, if it's ok for Japanese to leave to go to other countries during the pandemic, then it's fine for Japan to allow foreign students in.

It's that simple. Personally speaking foreign countries should NOT allow any Japanese students in, unless it's quid pro quo.

Things would change right quick if that happened!

9 ( +28 / -19 )

could, would, might, classic 21st century flip-flop reporting.

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

"If Japan's primary response (to a new variant) is to shut all the foreigners out, then that is going to create a potential backlash," Kushner said. "Japan is letting its own people out to study...this is going to create discord."

It's going to create discord? More like it already has. I'm glad that the pandemic has finally peeled back the polite layers Japan lathers on for the world to see to reveal the ugly, honest truth - that anything and anyone non-Japanese are not worth their salt unless they can be used as scapegoats for any and all problems plaguing the country.

He warned continued entry restrictions could diminish Japan's "footprint" of influence in Europe "very quickly."

Not just in Europe but worldwide. It'll inevitably put a stain on Japanese pop culture as people realize how Japan actually views and treats non-Japanese folk during hard times.

"You feel that because you have invested so much in a country, that they would welcome you. I feel a little isolated and stranded."

Congratulations, Japan. You've managed to make people not even living IN the country feel like discarded goods. Quite a feat, I must say. I wonder if it's better to feel like this while outside of Japan or while trapped inside?

1 ( +20 / -19 )

The Kyodo article is just part of the campaign to prepare the Japanese people for the imminent border opening, which has already been decided by the LDP overlords.

Foreigners don't need to be convinced of this.

-13 ( +8 / -21 )

Could deter? There’s no ‘could’ about it. If you can’t get into the country there’s no point in making plans to go there.

7 ( +16 / -9 )

Let foreign students in as long as they are double vaccinated. Then quarantine and test. Simple.

13 ( +23 / -10 )

The damage is done and there is no going back. The only people interested in Japan won’t be scholars, linguists and businesses, it will be anime fanatics.

3 ( +18 / -15 )

The Kyodo article is just part of the campaign to prepare the Japanese people

I wonder why Kyodo decided to publish this article in English if they are aiming it to the Japanese people...

3 ( +17 / -14 )

@Barry

Without question, Japan is a beautiful and wonderful country Only ruined by the attitude of those who organise society.

While those who "organize society" may be failing, they are only a reflection of society itself.

"Every nation gets the government it deserves."

-Joseph de Maistre

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Could?!

HAS!

We've been here before: "closing" the country to "Gaijin-san" could be considered an unfortunate cultural knee jerk reaction of Japanese officialdom.

3 ( +16 / -13 )

I bet a million dollars if you polled Japanese people, the only ones would say they miss foreigners are those who directly make money off of them.

Yesterday I had breakfast outside and there were 3 Americans talking loudly, with one of them putting his feet up with shoes on a chair. Believe me, no Japanese people miss this kind of behavior.

0 ( +24 / -24 )

Japan is finding it very hard to stomach, that it's world importance is no longer applicable. In my opinion, Japan has only itself to blame for this.

8 ( +23 / -15 )

The Kyodo article is just part of the campaign to prepare the Japanese people for the imminent border opening, which has already been decided by the LDP overlords.

Exactly, anyone who has been here for a while knows how this works. This is classic softly putting out the feelers and building up to 'considering', then we know where it goes from there. In 4 weeks the borders will be open to students, business travellers etc.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

This could impact the viability of smaller Japanese studies departments and, in turn, Japan losing valuable global influence via graduates who have spent time in the country.

Already happening I have heard anecdotally. Rising Chinese economic influence on one side and the global hit making of K-pop, which J-pop never managed to crack, are ensuring that. Then the predicted eclipsing of Japan economically by its Asian neighbors like Korea in the next few years.

Could be a reason why the LDP, Japan Inc. and rightists are so focused on hanging on to money and power, and do not give a damn about the welfare of their own people.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Covid-19 entry ban could deter interest in Japan: UK scholars

Has it ever bothered Japan before?

3 ( +12 / -9 )

I never read the article but this is the worst japan has been hit by Covid the hardest it ever has and with their medical infrastructure the way it is, the least of their worries is Covid.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

It seems a lot of people can't understand that the Japanese just want to be left in peace

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

"The wide issues that also need to be considered within the context of the pandemic, it tells non-Japanese people that they are second rate people in Japanese society, whenever there is an issue they will be cast aside, They will be blamed and they will be excluded."

I have lived in Japan for a long time. This has largely been due to practical reasons (work, pension). The widespread attitude of Japanese people (not only officialdom) that foreign people are "second rate" has deterred me from becoming a Japan specialist. Covid has been miserable for me because I can't get to that region where I find really interesting things going on, and receptive people: Southeast Asia.

So, I'm stuck in a world where most people seem happy as long as they have 100+ varieties of Mr. Donut or 400 types of KitKat chocolate bars. When is Covid going to go away?

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Quite a feat, I must say. I wonder if it's better to feel like this while outside of Japan or while trapped inside?

Sounds like things are extremely harsh for you here. I don't think Japan has banned one way tickets out of Japan.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

In my line of work we are already seeing international companies pulling out of the japanese market, and instead seeking expansion in neighboring countries like Korea and Taiwan.

i anticipate this notion that foreigners are the reason covid is in Japan is going to have some long-term impacts on Japan’s image as well as its economy.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

If Japan wants to vanish from public view it has every right to, but such decisions come with inescapable consequences.

Foreign nation or language departments in universities are a good indicator of the reach and 'soft power' of nations. That's why China promoted its Confucius Institutes globally with sacks of funding.

Japanese study has typically been supported by corporate funding from Japan Inc. and access. Anime fans go there as tourists before getting serious and hitting a degree programme. University departments are reliant on this, as funding fights are often brutal in education, certainly in the UK. Departments can and do vanish. Management types search for subjects to cull to save money. Declining interest is the kiss of death.

It's a bad time for interest in Japan and Japanese studies to fade, as there is now more competition than ever before. More Korean and Chinese students are studying abroad than Japanese, whilst Hong Kong students are having to escape abroad. Successive Korean waves, Kdrama on streaming services and Kpop has leveraged Korean studies and interest in the Korean language globally, especially in the West.

During the second half of the twentieth century, Korean studies suffered from the ban on the export of early Korean books. Around such collections, research and departments traditionally formed. That is less of a problem now with access to digital texts and the increasing importance of audio visual material. There has also been a huge increase in demand. From near invisibility, Korean is now the hip foreign language subject for many young people. French and German have always been taught in UK schools, but British kids are choosing to learn Korean for themselves. In a notoriously monolingual nation such as the UK, that is quite remarkable. BTS, take a bow.

Japan has a delayed roll-out of boosters and may simply re-open again in stages when Omicron passes, but the psychological and political consequences of the pandemic may cause greater long term damage to it than to other nations. In the West, there is huge pent-up demand to go abroad again and open up. Japan can join in with this, or 'pivot to China'.

The Middle Kingdom may stay closed long term, running with Covid Zero. Japan might too, switching to become a Dubai of the East - welcoming only the rich to keep the 'tourist pollution' down. The economic effects of that would be huge, as tourism only works, economically, as 'mass' tourism, injecting a lot of small amounts of cash into the economy at a low level (shops, eateries, transport, lodgings), with immediate direct benefits. Wealthy tourists spend differently, with very few beneficiaries. As footfall decreases below a tipping point, all sorts of places that have been hanging on during the border closure, would cease to be viable and would need to close. Externally, Japan would start to fade in public perceptions. Isolation comes at a price. It may be one that Japanese people are happy to pay. But like Brexit in the UK, folk who consider something beneficial as a vague concept, may not enjoy how the reality plays out.

Emergence from Covid could be a major determinant in the comparative future global status of Japan and South Korea. For the first time, South Korea's soft power may give it the edge in a race that is rebooting both nations from a standing start. Japan has the option to compete or close the doors and walk away.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

South Korea is going to have a massive windfall as a result of Japan imposing this blanket xenophobic travel ban.

People in America personally know and grew up with Koreans, not many Japanese people - Americans and Latin America watch Korean dramas and listen to K-pop.

No one is going to take Japan serious or trust them except a bunch of fringed Westerners obsessed about anime and Harajuku

-4 ( +14 / -18 )

The Kyodo article is just part of the campaign to prepare the Japanese people for the imminent border opening, which has already been decided by the LDP overlords. 

This comes close to what the LDP is really thinking, they really didn't care about all the Japan residents that were left out when the crisis started.

Universities are complaining because they need foreign students to supplement the shrinking Japanese population, not because the blah-blah they will dress it with.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Japan shooting itself in the foot so to speak to appease xenophobic voters.

-1 ( +15 / -16 )

According to the latest update the border re-opening will come into effect in a few weeks' time, in an incremental manner prioritizing siginificant groups of visitors.

I think that Japan's covid isolationism reveals the problem of local journalism. Although having quite often featured voices of foreigners under distress due to entry restrictions and campaigns for re-opening, media have failed to investigate and identify who are stakeholders behind the scene hesitating, resisting or sabotaging the border opening. Overall, the decision making process (from the sudden entry ban to re-opening) has remained very unclear and unaccounted for. The local media are only carrying sad stories or outcry to stir some emotions which give rise to both sympathy as well as chauvinistic criticism. But such an approach may prove socially divisive and futile to solve the ongoing problem.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

COVID-19 entry ban could deter interest in Japan

isn’t that what the dinosaurs and closed minded people want?

Mission accomplished for them.

But for the people actually living in 2022, horrible.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Japanese. Voters. Don't. Care.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

you have invested so much in a country, that they would welcome you

Japan has never been a welcoming country even before pandemic. They think allowing foreigners on their country is a burden, not opportunity. They always felt that way and will never change.

I still love Japan though. It’s like having a relationship with someone imperfect. You’ve gotta accept the whole package.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

This article is late. the J-gov is already working on it.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

i think this argument is true, it would have a negative impact on future Japan.

But we have an imminent problem particular to Japan's inaduate measures to counter Omiron in terms of lack of PCR tests and low innoculatiton rate of booster shots for the eldery.

Please understand it!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I personally don’t mind if Japan stays primarily “for Japanese”.

I don’t know why anyone would even want to come here if it were 50%+ foreigners like most other places.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Barry, I don't agree to your too aggressive comment for Japanese ways for this or that to foreigners. But very interesting to see South American voices of blaming the UK the same way you comment here. Pandemic issue and cultural issues can't be the same matter, if you matter?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

COVID-19 is an internal problem. For the most part, people living in Japan are catching the disease from other residents. There are no diseased swarms from abroad attacking us here. The only question I have how the COVID-19 can be such a mess when everyone is wearing a mask without complaint and we have universal healthcare, unlike the United States.

However it is here, it is here in Japan with a vengeance. And the reaction is what you have read above.

My first piece of advice is to stay home, the place you know best.

My second piece of advice, to Asian scholars, is to go to South Korea, where they are more welcomed than in Japan. Hangul makes Korean so much easier to learn and Korean universities are infinitely better than any in Japan.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

Japan shooting itself in the foot so to speak to appease xenophobic voters.

Exactly. You see "Freedom Convoys" around the world because countries are wanting to end mandates, open up and end restrictions, yet Japan and its largely elderly and conservative politic are happy to keep things as they are, even if it means even further negative growth (economic and population).

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

I bet a million dollars if you polled Japanese people, the only ones would say they miss foreigners are those who directly make money off of them. Yesterday I had breakfast outside and there were 3 Americans talking loudly, with one of them putting his feet up with shoes on a chair. Believe me, no Japanese people miss this kind of behavior.

Why equate foreigners in Japan with Americans? The overwhelming majority of foreigners in Japan are citizens of other Asian countries.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Like @Justasking

Japan has never been a welcoming country even before pandemic. They think allowing foreigners on their country is a burden, not opportunity. They always felt that way and will never change.

I still love Japan though. It’s like having a relationship with someone imperfect. You’ve gotta accept the whole package.

As married to a Japanese woman, and having shared life between the two countries for decades now, I agree. No debate needed.

Japanese like to be between them, that is cultural. Let it be, with consequences in their choice, good and bad.

Equality is not a concept viewed as positive in Japan, voters confirming it year after year. I accept it, but there are side effects like with catching covid.

Scholars should have better studied the culture before starting language to know where they are going. Knowing your history helps a lot.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Move over Cool Japan, the 2020's are shaping up to be the age of Cold Japan.

@GBR48, great analysis. I think it's a mistake to just view this as a recent erratic policy swing. The 'response' to the pandemic has been in tune with Japan's 'response' to its labour shortage since the Bubble years and the related 'response' to its ageing society. The warning signs have been out for the country for decades - that in order to avoid a fiscal and social crunch rooted in the demographic trend, it's necessary to increase immigration. Meaning welcoming people from other countries in to live, settle, put down roots. Japan however has tried to stick with a 'guest worker' policy that has been shown to be unviable elsewhere. In order to do this, it has had to convince itself that it is decades younger, endlessly seductive and attractive, and that coming here is a privelege that somehow only benefits the lucky foreigner who is 'allowed' in. Of course this runs into the reality that Japan is increasingly dependent on immigration, but that doesn't fit the Japanese worldview.

Slamming the door shut on foreigners in the pandemic is simply an accelerant, and as GBR48 says, is setting in motion things outside the government's control, such as university Japanese departments in other countries facing the threat of being replaced by competitors like Korean and Chinese studies. Once gone, they are unlikely to return, global competition being what it is.

I'm guessing GBR48, you are also reflecting on that other former leading world economy, the UK, which is also busy shooting itself in the foot at the moment with similar isolationist actions.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Academic mandarins incapable of fathoming the extent of a pandemic other than its impingement on their small segment of the world. Ten years from now, the memory of the mild displacement of students during a pandemic will be forgot. Nor will there be a lasting impact.

Sanctions preventing individuals from travelling to Japan during the pandemic are measured and wise. It is to prevent he further spread of SARSCoV-2. That's based on medical science, not on the wanting of post-adolescents desire to study abroad.

It has naught to do with xenophobia or isolationist leanings.

Academic mandarins are an entitled class of wreaking of privilege within he narrow confines of their specialty. hey need to remain at home until the pandemic has subsided and diminished.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

These days you can learn Japanese or any foreign languages over internet, stop using this as the pretext

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

I don’t know why anyone would even want to come here if it were 50%+ foreigners like most other places.

Pray tell - which are these "most other places" with "50%+ foreigners"? Seems like hyperbole.

The only places that spring to mind are some of the oil city-states like Dubai.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

There's only one way to get Japan to voluntarily (though hesitantly) open up. Get China to open up first.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Well both my wife and I moved to Japan during the pandemic. I was reluctant to move back to Japan when my company first approached me, but my wife found work as a tenured professor at a university so here we are. Both of us needed to apply for the Certificate of Eligibility and then convert it to a proper work visa at our our local consulate. Despite the headline of this article Japan very much is still open for business.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

NO Problem, if they can't wait there are plenty of other options like China, S Korea, Taiwan. H.K and so on.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

All this whining about border closures in Japan… just deal with it! Local people including foreigners are suffering to make ends meet. These people who want to enter Japan keep complaining and whining failing to realize what everyone else is going through!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

These students in particular who are complaining the most can just do online lessons if studying Japanese language is indeed their only reason for entering Japan! But actually it’s not!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

But like Brexit in the UK, folk who consider something beneficial as a vague concept, may not enjoy how the reality plays out.

WIth that one phrase you have exposed your revolving door immigration strategem in its entirety.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan shooting itself in the foot so to speak to appease xenophobic voters.

At least they listen to the voters.

Ask UK voters whether they want unbridled immigration - oh they did and what was the result?

And yet with every passing day, Brexit itself is being unravelled - witness the open door policy now being enacted in the UK - anyone can come, whenever they want, vaccination status irrelevant

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

And about how many people is that discussion? They are young students and probably living in a bigger expensive UK city. Of the very few who study Japanese there, even much fewer only could afford the flights, accommodation and living if they would really intend to come to Japan, even if all the borders and doors were wide open. That’s a pseudo or shadow discussion and doesn’t affect UK-Japan relationships at all or insignificantly.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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