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Some foreign residents in Japan consider traveling to other countries for vaccines

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By Rocky Swift and Daniel Leussink

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quite a challenge if the vaccination needs to be done with the 2 shots vaccine.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

"If you would like to go back to your home country for inoculation, that's fine," Japan's vaccine chief Taro Kono said last Friday. "Some countries have a higher rate of COVID-19, so you should consider which is safer for your health."

Daily deaths in Japan have surpassed those in the U.K., and are no doubt going to rise as Japan's turn to reckon with the variants is now upon us. I had high hopes Kono would act decisively, but now he just seems like a smug, empty suit, like the rest of the LDP.

17 ( +22 / -5 )

If it doesn't look like I'm going to be scheduled soon at that point, I've been thinking about using the Silver Week holiday in September to fly to the US and either try to get the janssen or stay 3 weeks for both doses of the Pfizer. The quarantine on return isn't too much of a hurdle, since I can still telework during that time.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

I see the arguments and motivation, but isn’t that just still quite weird to expose oneself to such much higher infection risks elsewhere? You contract COVID-19 probably earlier than there being vaccinated and having reached immunity, maybe not in NZ or some pacific islands or unaffected small 3rd world areas, but surely in most other countries you can fly to. It needs several weeks and in addition being a within those 80%-90% working vaccine to stand that challenge. You better camouflage and wait here. lol

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

visit, vaccinate, and vacation in the Maldives - very tempting. Anyone know which shot they are offering?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

It has certainly crossed my mind. In the second half of the year I think we may start to see some countries require vaccination certifications for entry. I don't want to miss out on any more business opportunities due to travel restrictions, and I can't see Japan giving me vaccine until this winter at the earliest

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Would LOVE to!

In reality though ALL countries have to get vaccinated en masse including poorer nations to reduce the risks and impacts of variants.

This was already well known (Hence COVAX) which is why it’s so disappointing that so few developed countries have not invested/readied domestic manufacture of the vaccines. They’re relying on the same supply chains and bottlenecks that failed early in the pandemic.

Japan should be manufacturing vaccines here, covering the Japanese population and exporting. We had a long time to prepare.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@geronimo2006

Anyone know which shot they are offering?

If it's anything like when I visited there I'd say definitely rum, whiskey and gin too if you are keen.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Daily deaths in Japan have surpassed those in the U.K.,

Oh please.JT reported 38 yesterday.The UK would kill for Japan's death toll for the past year and today's.Overreaching badly.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

Is this a supply issue or logistics issue? I mean if there are freezers full of vaccine in Japan just being stored then that is criminal. I say if you are going to lock down Osaka and Tokyo then start vaccinating there on a far larger scale.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

“If you would like to go back to your home country for inoculation, that's fine," Japan's vaccine chief Taro Kono said last Friday. "Some countries have a higher rate of COVID-19, so you should consider which is safer for your health”

Many have a lower rate. The UK now has a lower daily infection and death rate than Japan due to lockdowns and vaccination, yet the UK is still on Japan’s naughty list of Covid countries. I keep saying this, but Japan will be left behind when airlines and countries require vaccination, as well as PCR tests, for travel and entry. Economically and socially Japan will be lumped in with third world if they don’t get their act together.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Funny how some expats (by choice) fled their home country for better life or money but eager to come back when troubles happen.

You chose a new country, you keep the whole package.

-21 ( +6 / -27 )

Some foreign residents in Japan are traveling to their home country due to the incompetance of the J-Gov't.

>

20 ( +27 / -7 )

The Maldives will soon offer shots to visitors as part of a "visit, vaccinate, and vacation" campaign, the tourism minister of the popular Indian Ocean destination told CNBC last week.

Maldives way more efficient than the self proclaimed " advanced" Japan ...who would have thought...how pathetic can the LDP govt get?

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Maybe it's time [ sarcasm ] to re-think the intelligence and effectiveness of the Japanese Government?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

The latest plan that I have read suggests that non-medical staff and under 65 years old will sometime in the summer start getting mail from our city hall about signing up for the virus by mail. All this is a waste of time and resources in my opinion. Announce a place that vaccinations will take place and let those in that community make a reservation online. If you don't want it that is fine. In Florida you literally can now sign up on line to get the jab at a local supermarket or drug store with a reserved time slot.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Daily deaths in Japan have surpassed those in the U.K.,

This is just pure disingenuous manipulation of the facts. The UK is not experiencing the spring seasonal rise, probably in part because of high vaccination levels, so UK death rate is low, and at low rates, like it happened back in 2020 during the summer, there were many times Japan had a higher death rate than UK.

You are basically comparing the UK current low with Japan's current high, so that generates a false idea that those 2 are even comparable in any shape or form.

The UK has seen 1,867 deaths per million, while japan is at just 77, that is about 24 times lower than the UK, so they are not even comparable.

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

Some countries have a higher rate of COVID-19

What's Kono talking about? Japan has 4% positivity rate, Tokyo has 50%. Still not testing asymptomatic people.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

I suppose if you are in business and need to travel but taking more than a month out for vaccinations, 2 doses and quarantine times is expensive.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Japan's vaccination program is a total joke. A mix of lack of supply preparations, tons of older people and they want to force the Olympics this year. Who is running this clown show?

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Hey proper science, don’t come here with actual facts! The JT crowd don’t like that

0 ( +10 / -10 )

1 million vaccinated with a single vaccine. 500,000 with both vaccines. We are in the over 70 groups and haven't heard a peep.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

The irony is, said then-vaccinated foreigners wouldn't be allowed back into the non-vaccinated Japan because the FOREIGNERS pose a danger, according to the government.

5 ( +20 / -15 )

I have seriously considered this but if I had to quarantine for 14 days before the first jab, wait 21 days for the 2nd and then quarantine another 14 days upon return, I would be out of the office for almost 2 months (which is not un-doable, but would put some of my team in a bind as some of our work cannot be done remotely.)

In addition you have to apply to the Foreign Ministry for permission prior to going and at least in my country, have a PCR test prior to arrival. Then prior to departing for Japan, you have to have a certification from the Japanese Embassy that I hear is a real pain in the neck to get and fill out. Upon arrival another PCR test and a special taxi back to your house to quarantine. When my daughter came home from school for Christmas, it cost about 15k. Normal fare is closer to 8k.

At my relatively junior level, it seems to be a logistical impossibility.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

You chose a new country, you keep the whole package.

ah no, when people choose to leave Japan because they no longer enjoy living there, then they will and theres not a thing the J government can do about it. last I checked Japan was a democracy and people are free to come and go as they please as long as they meet the visa requirememts. Its Japan job and every other countries job to entice talented people to come and stay/work in their countries not the other way around. dont make it attractive then people wont come, simple

12 ( +15 / -3 )

 "Some countries have a higher rate of COVID-19, so you should consider which is safer for your health."

Some countries do enough testing to actually know the infection rate. But okay, the Pfizer vaccines are reportedly reliable, and are a two-shot regimen, with 2 weeks between shots. Maybe the shots will happen sometime in Japan, but it isn’t clear when.

If you leave to get vaccinated, you’re probably out of country for 3 weeks minimum, with a possibility, if the Japan situation gets bad or if officials distrust your vaccine credentials , that it will be harder to get back in even though you are vaccinated.

On the other hand, it would be safer for both you and your Japanese neighbors if you are successful,

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I read in the NYT Alaska is offering vaccinations at the Anchorage airport for anyone from June 1. Worth looking into.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I have already had my first shot.

As I have various types of business that I can attend to in the UK , I decided to leaveJapan.

Hopefully, I’ll be back to Nihon in June or July.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Is this a supply issue or logistics issue?

I guess you could say it's logistical, as J-gov regulations limit those who can administer the vaccine to only doctors. Such a limitation severely limits the speed at which the population can be vaccinated.

Also, it appears that the lists of who is eligible to receive the vaccine is run by the municipal governments. You need to receive an authorization letter first, then contact the office to make an appointment when your eligibility period comes up. It's ridiculous.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I’m saving every penny to leave for good,but if logistically would be easier and cheaper to do the whole operation to go back to my country now,be vaccinated and come back I wouldn’t hesitate.

But how many can afford the time,the papers,the J-bureaucracy and leaving job for such a long time?

I guess a very few of us.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Japan's vaccination program is a total joke. A mix of lack of supply preparations, tons of older people and they want to force the Olympics this year. Who is running this clown show?

@ OssanAmerica has nailed it. Nothing more needs to be said really.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japan only started vaccinating its sizable elderly population this month and health experts say it may take till the winter or longer for most of the general populace to get access to the shots.

LOL ! The winter of 2021 / 2022 ? Who are these experts ?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"The irony is, said then-vaccinated foreigners wouldn't be allowed back into the non-vaccinated Japan because the FOREIGNERS pose a danger, according to the government."

Does that mean you're going?

Japan can only hope.

And pray.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

I can't still believe Japan doesn't produce any vaccine.

Japan likely to loose its diplomatic influence after Covid-19

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The only good thing about not being able to enter Japan at the moment is, that I’ll be able to get both of my Pfizer shots until the end of May over here in my home country

3 ( +5 / -2 )

For those who file US taxes, the long stay abroad might affect your foreign earned income exclusion. Haha. Sorry to be a party pooper by bringing up the IRS.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

70 years of experience, and this is what passes for competence? Never has such a useless collection of people ever formed a government. Shameful. The Japanese government couldn't organize a party in a pub.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Dentists give injections, and there are more dentist's offices in Japan than there are convenience stores - fact. Vets also give shots, as can nurses; it wouldn't be that difficult to organize, if there were remotely competent people in charge.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@gakinotsukai

I doubt most of us “fled” our countries when we moved to Japan. I came here out of a love for the Japanese language and married a Japanese man. I wasn’t running away from anything back home, and if I can get the vaccine over 6 months faster by going back there, why not? I would of course follow all quarantine procedures to do so.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@GdTokyo

In addition you have to apply to the Foreign Ministry for permission prior to going and at least in my country, have a PCR test prior to arrival. Then prior to departing for Japan, you have to have a certification from the Japanese Embassy that I hear is a real pain in the neck to get and fill out.

Are you sure? I flew to the US in December to visit my dying father and came back to Japan in January. I didn’t have to do any of that except for the PCR test.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Maldives way more efficient than the self proclaimed " advanced" Japan ...who would have thought...how pathetic can the LDP govt get?

Well it is easy when a country is supposed to be poor and in need.

They received a "donation" of 120,000 Chinese Vaccines.

Now they have Free Covax supply on top of Indian made AZ all of it free and under the Covax system before those that paid double the price so as to pay for poor countries Covax.

So now the Maldives has more cacc6 than it needs and offering Free Vaccine to the rich that can afford to vacation there all paid for by our tax dollars and we wait for Vaccine supply that we paid for.

Nice deal for the Maldives bad deal for all the countries that paid for Covax.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Expat

The Japanese government couldn't organize a party in a pub.

On the contrary - they most certainly can. Not just pubs either - Ginza steakhouses, izakayas, and hostess clubs to name but a few....

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Proper Science:

You are basically comparing the UK current low with Japan's current high, so that generates a false idea that those 2 are even comparable in any shape or form.

The UK has seen 1,867 deaths per million, while japan is at just 77, that is about 24 times lower than the UK, so they are not even comparable.

No, what we're comparing is the current situation in the UK with the current situation in Japan. The trends in the two countries are also in the opposite direction. As for UK during 2020, what's done is done. I'm now concerned with the present and near-future. Once upon a time, even UK only had 27 deaths per million. Hell, Chinese were dying left right and centre if we go back to January 2020. Compared to every other single country on earth, they were the only hotspot. Circumstances change, and they can change quickly.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

NO POINT IN GOING ABROAD.

If you get infected you can't return!! or may be that's what you really want??

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I can't still believe Japan doesn't produce any vaccine.

Here is the really sad part.

Japanese companies have already Started manufacturing AZ and Novavax.

But like Moderna, AZ, Novavax they sit I storage as the approval agency sits on it's A$$ none expected to be approved before some time in May at the earliest.

Guess they are to busy preparing for the Olympics.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Your life is not in peril if you must wait a couple months for the "vaccine". Or if you choose not to get it. Or, as in my case, you do not qualify for the "vaccine". If you really need your fix and can't wait, then go abroad? That's a pretty big price to pay for a questionable expeimental drug. Irrational behaviour galore.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Careful, the Japanese authorities might not let you back in again.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Careful, the Japanese authorities might not let you back in again."

Well...

"i need my life back, but I'm in the wrong country."

Why would characters such as this one WANT to come back???????

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Circumstances change, and they can change quickly.

Your point is still disingenuous, because the rate is low for both countries. There are days the UK still surpasses Japan, so they are not even that far off.

You make it sound like Japan is just in such a bad state right now, and objectively, looking around the world, even today Japan is still in pretty good position.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Everyone calm down. In 2020, the mortality rate in Japan went down. You were safer in Japan in the pandemic than you were in 2019. You are in a country where most people wear masks, the death rate is low and which has not had economically crushing lockdowns.

Case numbers depend on tests, so aren't much use. The only valid metric is the number of deaths, if it is measured honestly. The numbers in Japan are still tiny relative to the size of the population. Most infections are still asymptomatic. This is not ebola.

One of the manipulative govt. policies leveraged by covid, globally, is repatriation. Go home or you won't get to see your family for years etc. That may be a reason for some to return home. Other than that, just take basic precautions and get on with life in JP, enjoying the good bits and grumbling about the rest on here.

The JP roll-out has been mind-numbingly slow, largely due to the lack of an emergency protocol to clear the vaccines. They may also lack the logistical infrastructure that some other countries have for medical services, as the JP medical system defaults to ad hoc private care rather than a public system like the NHS. That will have implications for Japan going forward, but the JGov may be happy with those - no tourism, little immigration, increased repatriation of foreigners. That's a Christmas present for right-wingers who favour their ideology over economics. There has been a global shift with ideological nationalists taking back control from politicians who favour economic power, so that is not simply a Japanese thing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Any foreigners that came to Japan without knowing anything about the political situation, climate, disasters, geopolitical climate?

Well, if you did not KNOW and now can see events unfold, are you amazed or stunned?

Don't blame Japan, the writing is always on the wall; rather, blame your own inability to not see past the Sakura blossoms....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Death numbers too low to be true compare to many countries were trains are packed and people sit on to each other in tiny restaurants and population over 65 is the majority.

Or it is the magic of the olympic games perhaps.

Sorry to be repeating myself but got to compare the right numbers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Funny!

It is my Japanese wife that as only been outside Japan on holidays that has been asking if we can go back to my country in any reasonable time frame get vaccinated and return.

Unfortunately not being residents my adult children and I would need to wait at least 2 months to get registered ( if already registered as a resident of my home province we would presently be vaccinated) and my wife would not be eligible as she would not have a resident visa or landed immigrant status.

The simple facts are if the Japanese or foreigners could just leave cheaply for a quick trip get vaccinated and return, many would.

The Jgov has made a serious mess of this.

Not enough Pfizer Vaccine on hand, approval for Moderna, Novavax and AZ taking far to long ( government said Moderna may be approved in may, the rest we don't know) millions on millions of AZ and Novavax already produced by Takeda and Daiichi Sankyo, sitting around waiting for approval.

But the Jgov has more important things to focus on Their "safe" Olympics!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Death numbers too low to be true compare to many countries were trains are packed and people sit on to each other in tiny restaurants and population over 65 is the majority.

Well seeing the overall death from all causes in 2020 was low compared to previous years, the possibility that the numbers are correct is highly likely.

Why is the question.

Simple people in developed countries that got seriously ill were old but not just old but also not in good health, 70% of those seriously ill were overweight/obese ( western obesity is 20%~30% + Japan 5%) heart disease is the number one problem in most western countries, not much of that in Japan.

According to the USA and Canada governments stats the average north American 45 year old and up is in 4 to 5 daily meditations to control things like cholesterol, hear disease, high blood pressure, etc...as the average 70 year old in Japan is on one or no daily meditation.

As to why death where low in 2020,

Simple extra precautions taken to avoid Covid also served to lower the spread of the flu which is a leading cause of deaths among the elderly. So low covid, low flu lower deaths overall.

All information is available and logical.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is this a supply issue or logistics issue? I mean if there are freezers full of vaccine in Japan just being stored then that is criminal. I say if you are going to lock down Osaka and Tokyo then start vaccinating there on a far larger scale.

Right now its a supply issue, but as soon as it isn't, logistics are going to become a huge problem. At present only doctors are administering the jabs, not nurses who probably have a lot more experience at it. In addition to that the typical japanese 30 minute wait at the site afterwards is NOT going to scale up to mass vaccination.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@David Van Cleef

The Doctor thing I will give you, totally silly.

The 30 min after is more or less standard.

In most countries it was 1 hour at first then dropped to 30 min, now in most places it is between 15 and 30 depending on the vaccine, age, injection site reactions, patient's history,etc..

My 80+ parents had to wait 30 min, my older brother 15 min, my younger brother 30 min because he has celiacs disease.

30 min wait after doesn't mean with the doctor the whole time, usually sent to a waiting area where a nurse monitors, while the doctor keeps vaccinating others.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gov may be happy with those - no tourism, little immigration, increased repatriation of foreigners. That's a Christmas present for right-wingers who favour their ideology over economics.

Indeed, It has been pretty common see in places like Twitter Japanese nationalists praising all border closures, and have jumped pretty easily to blame any increase in infections on the few thousand people that are allowed monthly into the country with pretty restrictive measures, saying that "the measures are not good enough", and trying to appear like they care about SARS-CoV-2 infections... but they do not.

I pointed out in a previous comment, but Japan numbers of arrival are actually pretty similar to those of Australia, and the border restrictions have continually gotten more and more crazy, to the point that right now there is a very high chance that what they are doing might be illegal, but they are trying to justify it because they force you either sign a contract at the border, or face even more extreme measures, like isolation in a government facility based on the quarantine act.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you want numbers, here they are. Interpret as you wish. Japan is better than some places and worse than others when it comes to coronavirus.

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/japan/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Some foreign residents are considering" but I suspect most are not.

In numerical terms, the typical foreign resident of Japan is from the PRC followed by Korea, Vietnam, Phillipines, etc.

A serious article on what foreign residents in Japan are thinking would start with the Chinese and work down the list.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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