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Japan to ask foreign tourists to wear masks, take out COVID insurance

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Once again zero science behind these decisions. This is all about control!

There is no mask guidelines and there hasn’t been since this all started.

28 ( +49 / -21 )

The agencies will keep records of the tours, including places they visited and where they sat in public transportation, so that if participants are found to be infected they can quickly identify close contacts who need to be isolated.

I can't imagine how it will work? You will have your special SEAT on the bus, and probably you will have your SEAT in the restaurant. Can you imagine that? What if you won't like the person on the bus? :D What if you will want to see something on the other side of the bus?

This all sounds like a prison bus ride good luck with that.

But it is likely to take some time for the country to reopen its borders to individual tourists as concern lingers within the government over the potential resurgence of infections.

Until they won't open for individual tourists the YEN will go up BANANAS.

-3 ( +21 / -24 )

No thanks. Under these conditions and the beginning of the rainy season Japan is not worth it. There are better locations to visit at present IMO.

16 ( +36 / -20 )

What?

Japanese with medical insurance are denied hospital beds and in reality, the vast majority don’t need one.

Japan is blowing on a spent squib, as usual…

-1 ( +19 / -20 )

The government said Tuesday it will ask foreign tourists to wear face masks...

Whilst also telling Japanese people that they no longer need to. You couldn't make this stuff up.

23 ( +37 / -14 )

take out insurance to cover medical expenses in the event they contract COVID-19

Does that mean before that, all foreigners got free healthcare?

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Ahahhahahhhahahaha absurd! I didn't think it could get to this point. I was fascinated by the idea of ​​going to Japan. Now it scares me! All for a political question.

1 ( +24 / -23 )

So tourists are allowed to come but not see any 'crowded tourist spots? So you won't get to see main tourist spots.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

With rules like this, a guided tour of North Korea seems like a better option.

10 ( +33 / -23 )

Utterly preposterous.

Masks are not obligatory..There are no laws on this .

And anyway they are advising people remove them outside in unconfined spaces!

21 ( +27 / -6 )

If Japan is serious about this they can kiss tourism in 2022 goodbye. Money will be spent elsewhere.

7 ( +28 / -21 )

What a ridiculous set of restrictions. As an individual tourist, I’m not allowed in yet, but if I were allowed in I’d wear a mask - not just because the J-Gov insists, but also because it’s perfectly obvious to anyone who’s been looking at Japan’s Covid statistics that no-one has ever had any idea of how much Covid there really is in Japan, and I want to protect myself as much as possible against picking it up from the locals.

-7 ( +19 / -26 )

And one further thing - if the Japanese government continues to drag its feet on this issue, it really is going to be as some other posters are saying- tourists, and their financial contribution to Japan’s economy, are going to vote with their feet and just go elsewhere.

3 ( +21 / -18 )

Because Covid is unique to Japan, nobody else knows how to deal with it and "foreigners" need special guidelines. No surprises there.

The agencies will keep records of the tours, including places they visited and where they sat in public transportation, so that if participants are found to be infected they can quickly identify close contacts who need to be isolated.

This would have been a brilliant idea over the first two years of the pandemic. I don't mean keeping records of everyone, but enabling people who shared the same spaces as those who tested positive to get easy access to testing rather than book overbooked or expensive private centers. I wonder why that's a thing only now tourists from overseas are involved.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

So Japanese don't have to but foreigners have to? Clearly the tourist who got covid in the last group got it in Japan. Where is the science?

23 ( +32 / -9 )

Once you reach Japan, you will lose your freedom. The tour guide wait at the arriving hall and you are in full control by him.. like you are a criminal .They think that only foreigners spread the disease , and their local won’t ! As a tourist I do fear being infected too !! Japan as a super advance country should have open up everything and back to normal as what other countries already did .

etc..

-3 ( +12 / -15 )

RodneyToday  05:16 pm JST

take out insurance to cover medical expenses in the event they contract COVID-19

Does that mean before that, all foreigners got free healthcare?

No it doesn't. This article is talking about tourists, not all foreigners.

Some tourists visting Japan who ended up requiring medical treatment or hospitalization, have in the past caused a proble, because they had no insurance. Any traveler can take out insurance to cover them in case they need medical care in another country. But many were not responsible enough to do so. There were cases of foreign tourist patients running out of the hospital without paying anything. This is what is being addressed. Especially with the possibility of Covid.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

Tourists should alway take out medical and repatriation insurance. As for the masks, indoors, no problem, if they are the rules. But there aren’t any rules.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

And there you have it ! Another huge step towards fully reopening as everyone wants ! I’m sure glad the jgov is following actual science and not the wants of those with a science degree from Facebook!

-16 ( +7 / -23 )

Welcome to the new China.

6 ( +24 / -18 )

Unfortunate that many of those who really want to come visit Japan , those who are here every day doggedly awaiting developments, don't want to wear masks, they may have to wait a long while before mask requests are dispensed with

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

It’s all just utterly ridiculous.

If I was Japanese, I’d be ashamed and embarrassed by all of this. Its a disgrace to the country.

0 ( +21 / -21 )

Let's call of for what it is.

This is discrimination at best and racism at worst.

-2 ( +20 / -22 )

^ Let's call it* for what it is.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

@ian

Unfortunate that many of those who really want to come visit Japan , those who are here every day doggedly awaiting developments, don't want to wear masks, they may have to wait a long while before mask requests are dispensed with

I don't think the mask wearing is the issue here. People don't want to travel to Japan right now because they're forced to participate in prison tours with absolutely no freedom at all.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

All countries have guided tours

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

If China asks the same for visiting Shanghai, sure you would react the same...

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I myself wouldn't go on a guided tour though

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Rofl

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The amount of tantrums/dummy spits over it being suggested "wear a mask"... boggling.

-1 ( +18 / -19 )

Completely non sense and racialized as always in Japan.

Besides,the forced group touring might work for some limited extend with the other northern eastern asian tourists like Koreans and Chinese which mostly travel around the world in groups as the Japanese also do.

But for sure this won’t work with Westerners which prefer to travel on their own.

Japan is mocking itself around the world with these North Korean style forced group tours.

With all the beautiful location in the world most people won’t take the burn to come here for travel.

The Nippon Kaigi is fulfilling it’s dream of a Sakoko 2.0 and spreading it’s xenophobic agenda among the obedient media.

-7 ( +11 / -18 )

What’s with all the negativity? Tourism is on again ! Woohoo! Like it or not , Covid changed the entire world and each country has to make decisions and rules or perhaps no rules at all . I’m sure JTB and HIS are quite happy . They’re gonna work around the clock to get tourism off and running ! That is exactly what some of y’all have been whining about for months …. Rejoice !

-25 ( +4 / -29 )

The government just announced that people don't need to wear masks outdoors if they are 2 meters away from others. But that doesn't apply to tourists. Who will check?

13 ( +17 / -4 )

To be fair, if I were a foreign tourist visiting Japan, I'd much rather mask up and get Covid insurance than deal with all the dirty looks from the Japanese public and hospital staff. But at the end of the day, I should never want to visit Japan in the near future. I wouldn't even call it paranoia, but schizophrenia.

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

I get the medical insurance. Hell it's a requirement for Singapore, as the government there does not want to have to pay for any complications due to COVID.

In my opinion, having travelers insurance is a no brainer, just in case.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

They love making up special rules for outsiders, even if those rules don't exist in the country.

-2 ( +15 / -17 )

Don’t go people. They will lock you up even if they think you have Covid. Go somewhere else where you can actually enjoy yourself.

-1 ( +14 / -15 )

Japan to ask foreign tourists to wear masks

I mean, I'm one foreigner who still wears a mask and is perfectly okay with doing so. However, I can't help but think that if they do actually try to enforce mask-wearing amongst foreign tourists, doesn't it also seem likely that they will discriminate and try to force it among gaikokujin who live in Japan, too?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

While in Japan, the agencies will transport tour participants found to be infected with the novel coronavirus to medical institutions and support them until they leave the country. 

Oh support you by locking you in a hotel and forcing you to leave the country. So hospitable of them!

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

well Japan, see you in a few years!

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

All those articles and political messages focus mainly on the mask wearing issue. Pure demagogy

As a foreigner living here, I do not have any problem at all when not wearing a mask.

And J travelers during the GW in Hawai were not wearing a mask, as seen on TV.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

What if they say no?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

TBH the more I read about this plan the more it looks like North Korean tour…

0 ( +14 / -14 )

Hey guys and gals. Do you want some cheese with those whines? ;-)

Wearing a mask is not a big deal. Srsly.

1 ( +18 / -17 )

I do not understand anyone who wishes to travel abroad under this requirements, I wouldn't! Stay home, save your money. I saw this on TV in Japan, a bunch of tourists with masks on and every newspaper reporter following them around just in case they take off their mask, like monkeys in a zoo. Disgusting!!!

-5 ( +13 / -18 )

@half-hearted jumper

I don't know about others, but I wear a mask every time I go out, even when outdoors and outside crowded areas. The difference is that, yet again, the authorities imply that non-Japanese people pose some kind of larger threat and need to be guided and policed more than locals.

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

Wearing a mask is not a big deal. Srsly.

Tone deaf response.

The Japanese government is literally telling one group (Japanese people) "Yeh, be sure to take off your masks outside so you don't die of heatstroke, oh and btw, taking it off inside is fine too as long as you aren't talking."

While telling another group (foreigners): "Wear a mask at all times. Be accompanied by a tour guide from when you enter the country to when you leave."

Obvious 外国人排斥 is obvious.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

What is the point in touring if you are going to monitored and restricted???

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I hate this kind of announcement which implies Coronavirus is spread by foreigners with unclean habits (not wearing masks) and also implies foreigners are a burden on the Japanese health system, which is also bogus.

However, I strongly suspect that since they are using the magical word "guidelines", none of this is actually going to be enforced on anyone coming to Japan. Not wearing a mask on the plane may get you into bother, you might get kicked off before takeoff, but after you've got off in Japan, I doubt you'd get more than a dirty look off someone for not masking up. Maybe some grief and chasing away by a shopkeeper, but that's about it. The insurance one can probably be avoided with a tick in a "it's free with my credit card" box and no actual proof. What this announcement may actually be is a reassurance to Japanese xenophobes that the government understands their concerns about unclean, freeloading-on-the-health-system gaijins who xenophobes assume must exist in their thousands. While superficial pandering to such prejudices may be a necessary step in bringing us closer to a border open to tourists, something many of us want ASAP, it also reinforces the stereotypes mentioned above and is distasteful for it.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Not all Japanese wear masks as well…I’ve started to notice a few without masks outdoors which is fine but a few have been popping up without masks in trains!

I wonder what these officials are smoking up there if they believe that foreign tourists will wear masks during the hot and super humid Japanese summer!

7 ( +10 / -3 )

OMG...Here we go, I knew it would be like this! but yet they have crowded basketball games where people are shoulder to shoulder ...Well, just have to deal with it

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Will the j cops be stopping us resident foreigners to prove we aren't tourists.

Seems very strange.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The policy on masks is not legally enforceable once the tours are abandoned after the election. This is all a big show for the LDP base who hate foreigners. After they get in, so will tourists be allowed in, en masse and masks will be dropped bit by bit by the local population as more and more people come to their senses and realize peer pressure is not a scientific reason for continuing with them. The amount of maskless tourists will help them overcome their own social pressures in the end.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What is the point in touring if you are going to monitored and restricted???

Ask this question to the people who travel to NK for vacation, I am sure their input would be enlightening!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I applied for a tour in march. My dad had his birthday, it was his dream to go to japan, and I wanted to give him back something for all the stuff he has done to me since my childhood.

After hearing the restrictions honestly I feel devastated. I don't have problem with wearing a mask, as a doctor I am doing that every single day for years now. This article doesn't even say every restrictions like

travel only outside of peak travel times

visit places that are not crowded

So I guess it means we won't see like anything......

And I didn't even mention stuff like

refrain from talking when using a public transport

or

keep your voice down in public spaces

Like what the hell? Honestly I feel like I am literally a biohazard material which is only tolerated because I paid a big ammount of money.

I wanted to cancel the whole trip but the travel agency has already started to organize it, and I would get only back like half of it. For the money which I paid I would be able to see Taj Mahal, Machu Pichu and other countries without any of restrictions like this. I saw the saddness and the disappointment in my fathers eyes aswell.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is what I an my wife have been doing. We wear double masks when we go out. We neither eat or drink outside or use public transport. Like it or not, the pandemic seems to be abating but it is still on.

We go to places that are familiar and where we meet people we know how to be safe.

Not an exciting life but safe.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

But it is likely to take some time for the country to reopen its borders to individual tourists as concern lingers within the government over the potential resurgence of infections.

Wait until after the elections and then our lives here unfortunately go back to normalcy.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I have no concerns about wearing a mask as I do anyways but I am not going on "tour trip". It just doesn't appeal. Especially when I see Japanese tourists here all the time now and I still can not go there, reciprocity would be a good thing. If this continues Japanese tourists may find they are banned from travel to other countries. BTW none of the Japanese tourists here were masked and were happily sneezing and coughing everywhere.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Ridiculous, knee-jerk comments again from JT readers. The reality is that 99% of Japan residents wear masks when out. I just got back from Switzerland where not even 1% wear masks anytime or anywhere - and those who do are mostly Asians.

Requiring tourists to follow local rules is not discriminatory, it’s normal.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

For crying out loud -- insurance over a virus that, at this point, has deteriorated to the point of being no more deadly than the common flu?

For the absolute love of God in Heaven, people, can we please stop with this continued and insane hyper-obsession and irrationally neurotic fear over COVID?

COVID insurance. The very idea is too idiotic, too silly, too irrationally over-the-top to even spend time commenting on it. It's not worth it.

Take off the damn masks already and start living your lives like normal human beings again.

Stop being faceless emotionless drones living in paralyzing fear over a virus with about as much chance of killing you as a mauling by a blind three-legged cheetah wearing a Dodgers cap.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Requiring tourists to follow local rules is not discriminatory, it’s normal.

Not when the local rules are so silly and unnecessary. "When in Rome" doesn't apply when the concept is being used and exploited to push rules that are just plain ridiculous.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I've seen someone walking or bicycling down the street (outdoors, obviously) with absolutely no one anywhere near them ... wearing a freaking mask.

That tells me that there's absolutely zero independent thought or common sense being employed here. It's just blindly following some excessively stupid one-size-fits-all guideline.

I just got back from Switzerland where not even 1% wear masks anytime or anywhere

Sorry, but why are you implying that's a bad thing? That tells me that nearly everyone in Switzerland is using their functioning brain, has common sense, and most of all, understands the physical and psychological importance of seeing other people's faces and actually living like human beings -- not like faceless emotionless drones.

And it tells me they understand that for at least 99% of people -- at least! -- this virus is no more dangerous than a bout of the flu. It tells me that they no longer succumb to this idea that obsessive, neurotic COVID fear is somehow a mandatory emotion.

We are not meant to live like this. We are human beings. We are not meant to constantly walk around with our faces covered up by face-diapers. We are not meant to constantly see ourselves and our fellow human beings as biohazards -- especially when, again, this virus has weakened to the point where it's no more deadly than the common flu.

Japan, unmask thyself.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Not when the local rules are so silly and unnecessary. "When in Rome" doesn't apply when the concept is being used and exploited to push rules that are just plain ridiculous.

When in Rome applies when you have the choice to not go to Rome. Don't like it, don't go. Problem solved.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

When in Rome applies when you have the choice to not go to Rome. Don't like it, don't go. Problem solved.

The problem with responses like yours is that it removes agency from the responsible party and instead shifts the blame to the victim.

My family cannot visit me in Japan. I am a foreign resident and a taxpayer. I have paid, and continue to pay, incredibly (likely excessively) high taxes to live in Japan, in spite of the wages being not so good. So I expect something in return for what I am giving them.

Instead what I am getting is a government position that caters toward the Covid-paranoid Ojiis and Obaas that AREN'T paying taxes, rather they are sucking up tax dollars. We got five ridiculous SoE/quasi SoEs that tried to prevent me from going out (but failed), a spectatorless Olympics, vaccine doses that nobody wants and are now being thrown out, Covid tracing/vaccine passport apps that nobody uses, and a draconian tour guide program nobody wants any part of it.

Why wasn't that money spent on improving the schools? Or improving the technological infrastructure? Building new hospitals/hiring doctors and surgeons?

Meanwhile Kyoto dries up financially because it's sole purpose is to basically entertain people from other countries that have money to spend. Beyond that, they don't produce or export anything.

So this response of "Don't like Japan don't go/leave" being spewn by the "Ganbare Nippon" crowd is not only inadequate from a policy perspective it is void of any intellectual value.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Wearing a mask is not a big deal. Srsly.

Tone deaf response

No, not really. Most Japanese/Okinawans here in Okinawa wear masks. Most people who don't tend to wear masks are foreigners. Not saying all, but quite a few. The number of Okinawans who don't wear masks is very insignificant.

At this point if you don't understand how masks help stop the spread of COVID, you're ignoring science and basically don't care about others with compromised immune systems.

And, if you're traveling to another country, you follow their rules. It's that simple. Don't inflict your cultural values on others. Not only is it rude on your part, but in this situation it can affect the lives of others.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

And, if you're traveling to another country, you follow their rules. It's that simple. Don't inflict your cultural values on others. Not only is it rude on your part, but in this situation it can affect the lives of others.

Unsurprisingly, you ignored everything I said in my previous, and mechanically regurgitated the usual talking points like some kind of robot.

Wearing masks is NOT a rule. In recent weeks the government has been making that especially clear. It's only a rule for tourists because the people of your country irrationally fear them and hold them to different standards than everyone else.

As for me, a tax paying foreign resident, I will NOT wear a mask. You and the paranoid geezers can shoot me dirty looks on public transit, and even occasionally muster up the courage to ask me why I'm not wearing one, but it won't change the result. You will need to suck it up and learn to deal with it.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The agencies will keep records of the tours, including places they visited and where they sat in public transportation, so that if participants are found to be infected they can quickly identify close contacts who need to be isolated.

Yet when it was going around my office in Tokyo the agencies did nothing!? wtf

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm flying in next week from the US and I will do as I do here. Wear a mask in crowded areas whether indoors or even some outdoor areas. I was 49 and very fit when I caught COVID and it nearly killed me. I missed 3 months of work and had long COVID symptoms for more than a year, so I take every precaution to protect myself and others, even the ignorant myopic ones who don't seem to give an ish about anyone else and put their "comfort" above everything.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The Coronavirus has caused a lot of problems for everyone with this mask codswallop. I was very relieved when I found out you can also call it 'Covid-19'.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is beyond stupid, more importantly is the fact China has and probably never will be held accountable for causing this covid problem in the first place , not even an apology from China. I study was done that found whether people wore a mask or didn’t the deaths from covid would be the same.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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