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Limited Japan border easing stirs hope, worry for foreigners

33 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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The new rules, however, provide only a slight improvement: 5,000 new entrants per day, instead of the current 3,500,

but

The 5,000 daily arrivals also includes Japanese nationals returning to the country, 

Then its not going to be an improvement at all. Its just window dressing. Like with everything else in Japan, to understand what's really going on, you have to read the fine print

9 ( +24 / -15 )

Agreed, all in the small print. But quite frankly as of March 18th ( 2 weeks post booster) I'll be able to travel home for the first time in too long and just have to spend 3 days at home on return to Japan. A vast improvement. I have flights booked for a later date and right now, yes being selfish and thinking totally about convenience for myself.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

Writing this from Haneda, March 1. Process improved a lot in terms of speed, not because anything changed in the content of the checks (ok, no more hanko but just a pen check, a major improvement) but because of logistics and organization having adapted with experience. Still a hundred checks.

The surreal thing is that now one is better off coming from a country with hundreds if thousands omicron cases (3 days at home) than from a country where there’s not enough omicron cases (7 days at home, can be shortened by taking a PCR on day 3). So coming from a country that manages better its pandemic response is a disadvantage.

Needless to say, the vaccination Catch-22 is there: you can skip quarantine if you have the 3rd shot, but you can’t have the third shot if you live in Japan and your second shot was less than 6 months ago.

4 ( +15 / -11 )

Jommy - Never heard that name before. Sounds more like a combination of Jimmy and Tommy. Anyway, the best of luck for these people to return to Japan. Yes, it's very slow, but better than nothing.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Also, in my plane today there were four (4) foreigners out of 243 passengers, which makes the Japanese coming back from abroad 239. Whatever you think about the two years of border limitations, I can tell you the variants didn’t enter with a foreign traveler.

8 ( +20 / -12 )

Welcome to Japan!

but can you please wait for one ore year?

Gaman ni shite kudasai!

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

Why keep the limits to the number of people returning daily if the hotel quarantines are no longer needed and everyone is just going to hone quarantine or in some cases no quarantine at all.? Where is the need for the limitation now?

(Although where do the returning foreign students etc with no current home do their quarantine.)

BTW Does anyone know? Is the ban on using public transport on arrival still in effect or is it okay now just to take the regular train to your home quarantine or even a domestic flight if your home is in another city?

9 ( +12 / -3 )

BTW Does anyone know? Is the ban on using public transport on arrival still in effect or is it okay now just to take the regular train to your home quarantine or even a domestic flight if your home is in another city?

My understanding is that you can use public transport if you are triple jabbed and test negative.

It's not the Japanese government's fault, but the task of getting to Japan has also been complicated by flights to and from Europe that go through Russian airspace being cancelled.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Looking forward to coming back for the third time in as many months, and hopping right on the train, and living life normally. Sure--will quarantine 'at home' for 7 days.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Documents, letters and papers.... Hand luggage will be full with documents.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japanese think they are more valuable than the citizens of other countries.

3 ( +16 / -13 )

I asked before and I still feel that the entity classing Japan COVID 19 entry restriction as xénophobic be listed in the article. It’s very unfair to throw around the term xenophobic without knowing the thrower. If someone told me that there is a rumour that you are a ninja. My instant reply would be, Who?

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

"It's still better than nothing," said Jommy Kwok, who has missed nearly all of her first year of post-graduate classes in atmospheric science

Yes, petal, because we know how world-renowned Sapporo universities are for Atmospheric sceince. The rest of the world has offered space and/or places, but the majority of these students are not going to do anything but still whine, even after they're let in.

Rather than students, I'd rather have the tourists and family members of residents already here, being let in first - at least they bring revenue and would actually appreciate it.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Here a pertinent question. How many foreigners in Japan have the COVID? As a permanent resident I worry and care about my fellow foreigners. There are no statistics, which suggests the number of foreigners with COVID is likely few if any. Furthermore, though non-resident foreigners were barred or are now segregated while waiting to enter normal Japanese life, COVID has soared. Foreigners' presence in Japan has little to do with COVID quasi-emergences that keep surging around the country.

3 ( +16 / -13 )

Here a pertinent question. How many foreigners in Japan have the COVID? As a permanent resident I worry and care about my fellow foreigners. There are no statistics, which suggests the number of foreigners with COVID is likely few if any. Furthermore, though non-resident foreigners were barred or are now segregated while waiting to enter normal Japanese life, COVID has soared. Foreigners' presence in Japan has little to do with COVID quasi-emergences that keep surging around the country.

Excellent post Jeancolmar.

Furthermore let me add that Japan is the only country among the many that is applying a restriction which is beyond any logic.

Even the WHO leaders a month ago criticized their restrictions because these are not based on scientific results but as radicalized ones.

Yes governments and nations still need to keep their guard high for this virus,but if the person brings official documentations that it is fully vaccinated and tested negative it should be allowed in,no matter the nationality.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan will consider a further relaxation of border controls based on a scientific assessment of the omicron variant, infection levels in and outside Japan, and other countries' quarantine measures.

There is nothing scientific about anything the Japanese government is doing with regards to Covid. Not the border restrictions, not this sham of a SoE.

But most of Japan is still under virus-related restrictions

What restrictions? People are out and about in droves; trains are constantly packed to the brim; and kids are going to school as normal. The only thing these "restrictions" are doing is crippling the F&B industry.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

Is there any reason why those who want to marry a Japanese can't ask the Japanese to go out of Japan?

-10 ( +8 / -18 )

It never ceases to amaze how Japan is SO ABLE to keep shooting itself in the foot in oh so many ways, common sense sadly is not at all common!

3 ( +15 / -12 )

Like anything else “new” in japan, the “opening or debut” date of things should be treated as a “soft opening.”

The real changes or effects won’t happen for another 6-12 months.

Let’s see how things really are, come obon and winter of 2022.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

Why keep the limits to the number of people returning daily if the hotel quarantines are no longer needed and everyone is just going to hone quarantine or in some cases no quarantine at all.? Where is the need for the limitation now?

Probably because they created extra paper work and procedures that are no longer necessary but still need to be done because you know - rules in Japan are arbitrarily decided in a rush, but it takes 25 years to get rid of it.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

Get with the program Japan. Masking Xenophobia under the pretext of "safety" is behind the times and will impact Japan for years to come.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

At this point, they must not be worried about foreigners bringing in Omicron or Delta, but a new variant and so 5000 is the maximum amount they can test and quarantine.

Is there any reason why those who want to marry a Japanese can't ask the Japanese to go out of Japan?

You can ask and in most cases they will leave Japan with you, but if kids are in the picture, you might want to be careful about divorce since women can haul their kids back to Japan and legally hide them from you.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Critics have compared Japan's strict and prolonged border measures to the "sakoku" locked-country policy of the xenophobic warlords who ruled the country in the 17th to 19th centuries.

Its the same.

Some say it hurts Japan's national interests by locking out skilled foreigners who could bring valuable ideas, business and work to the country.

It does.

Piras was aware of Japan's tendency to be wary of outsiders, but "it was a shock that they are still so closed. ...

When you live here long enough its easy to understand how closed they are.

It's like saying Japanese are OK but we (foreigners) are not OK. We bring sickness and Japanese are the pure ones."

Not like saying...that IS what they are saying.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

Thank you William 77. Your points are very well taken. It would be great if the powers that be had better insights.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

@kumagaijin

At this point, they must not be worried about foreigners bringing in Omicron or Delta, but a new variant and so 5000 is the maximum amount they can test and quarantine.

Why would they be worried about something that doesn't exist? The simple reason they're opening at such a glacial pace is that it might further expose the flaws in the Japanese health system - a system they've failed to expedite (despite promises to do so last year). Not to mention of course there are undeniable examples of xenophobia at play here. If you're still going to test people before and after arrival - open the doors to the world. It makes no difference who's coming in.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Why would they be worried about something that doesn't exist? 

Well, yes, why indeed. But they are worried because it does exist. I agree absolutely though with the rest of your post that their response to it is ridiculous and ineffective. Also unscientific. And xenophobic. Because the virus can't read your passport, and is happy to hitch a ride on any host. I've heard the daily limit on entries is because their procedures are so inefficient and bureaucratic that five thousand is the most they can process. But you've got to keep the old hanko inked up, or the wood might dry out and crack or something. And faxes tend to get paper jams if they gather dust.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I caught Omicron in Japan-it is all over.

The country has been breached and keeping forecourt does absolutely nothing except disrupt lives and damage the economy-moronic!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

…”keeping foreigners out”

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

At this point, they must not be worried about foreigners bringing in Omicron or Delta, but a new variant

Why would they be worried about something that doesn't exist?

@as_the_crow_flies

they are worried because it does exist

If you're referring to the BA.2 sub-variant, for all intents and purposes it's still Omicron.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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