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Japan adds Algeria, 17 other nations to entry ban list over virus

27 Comments

Japan will add another 18 countries including Algeria, Cuba and Iraq to its entry ban list as part of its border control measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, the government said Monday.

Foreign nationals who have been to the countries within 14 days of their arrival in Japan will be denied entry in principle, starting Wednesday, the government said.

The newly added countries are mainly in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, which have all seen a rise in COVID-19 cases.

The other 15 countries are Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Costa Rica, Eswatini, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Senegal.

The decision made Monday by the National Security Council brings the total number of countries and regions on the list to 129.

Japan will also maintain other border control measures such as suspension of visa issuance by its embassies in the listed countries and regions until the end of July.

With the travel restrictions in place, Japan is estimated to have received only 1,700 foreign travelers in May, an all-time low and a 99.9 percent drop from a year earlier, according to the latest government data.

Japan has emerged from a state of emergency declared over the novel coronavirus but remains on alert against a spike in new infections.

In the meantime, the government is considering relaxing travel restrictions on countries that have seen the infection situation stabilize. Last week, a chartered flight carrying mainly business people marked the resumption of travel between Japan and Vietnam that had been halted by the pandemic.

More than 18,500 infections have been reported in Japan as of Monday, with 985 deaths related to the virus.

Globally, the total number of cases has topped 10 million with over 500,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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27 Comments
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Why don't they add Antarctica, North Pole and the moon to the list too while they are at it?

-4 ( +11 / -15 )

I read the EU had put Algeria on a list of countries that were OK.

What gives

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Globally, the total number of cases has topped 10 million with over 500,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

that's a lot of deaths, but still not as many as the annual deathtoll from influenza.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

wonder why they singled out Algeria in the title.... is it relevant? seems off-topic to me!

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

With the travel restrictions in place, Japan is estimated to have received only 1,700 foreign travelers in May, an all-time low and a 99.9 percent drop from a year earlier

Good thing they canceled the Olympics, eh?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

If you visit this on your computer and not a mobile device, then select Algeria from the list and then in the graph section, choose daily cases, you will notice a sharp upswing in cases. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

I'm guessing this is why they are being included in the list of countries by Japan.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

What happens to the Algerian permanent residents of Japan ( and those other countries) who happen to be outside of Japan? Can they still return? Their countries were not on the no return list when they left

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Seems strange. Some countries quarantine, others ban.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Even Eswatini (had to look that one up but it was known as Swaziland until 2018) made the list!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines????

Last time I checked, they had 27 patients, 25 of which have already recovered. Nobody in SV and G in their right mind would want to come to Japan in the first place for fearing of getting infected.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Going to be quite interesting how Japan suddenly justifies it being safe to lift the ban leading up to the Olympics if the situation has not improved or has gotten worse. You can't hold events when you won't let people in, and you can't let people in suddenly for events if you've been insisting it's about safety to begin with.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

@anon9999: Yes, They can return if they left before the travel ban was imposed.

I know people whoi have returned before travel bans were imposed on their country, PCR test - proof of address and a request to stay off Public Transport. PCR result 3-5 hours later.

Contribute @smithinjapan. Don't just pick at the obvious for the sake of it. You CAN leave you know. Canada will not deny you entry.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

This government is not considering relaxing anything for non-Japanese. Only for Japanese businessmen.

Last week, a chartered flight carrying mainly business people

'Mainly' business people.? Do you seriously think there were families going on their holidays.. Nope. It was all government-sponsored Japanese trading companies.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

TheResident: "Contribute @smithinjapan. Don't just pick at the obvious for the sake of it. You CAN leave you know. Canada will not deny you entry."

True to your character, if you don't like the comment, ask the poster to leave. And you wonder why certain elements of the politics are disliked and made infamous worldwide. So, you support the double standards, then? and not respecting the opinions of others? Instead of asking why others don't leave if they don't blindingly adore everything and only praise the government and like-minded people, why not just admit you respect the way North Korea runs things?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Can anyone clarify please: is this foreigner ban fixed till the end of July? The mofa website is not very clear. I'm due to visit Japan on July 20th (I bought the ti k

0 ( +0 / -0 )

(I bought tickets before Xmas)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

almost - Abe does not want to commit to anything. They are not commenting. Not very helpful to you I know.

My opinion is that Japan are using immigration as an excuse for their Covid-19 failings, plus they want their government-connected trading companies to get an unfair advantage, plus they are trying to protect 2021 Olympics.

The major airlines and travel agents are government backed and are being asked to concentrate on domestic. Japan will be one of the last countries to make a plan for non-Japanese visa holders and for tourism.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@almostshat

Can anyone clarify please: is this foreigner ban fixed till the end of July? The mofa website is not very clear. I'm due to visit Japan on July 20th (I bought the tickets before Xmas)

Nobody knows. It's on as long as mofa seems fit.

I also have a ticket for August, bought nearly a year ago, to go visit my family in Europe, but am currently stuck in Japan as there's no guarantee will I be able to come back. Might have to kiss goodbye to the flight, the flight money, and the chance of seeing my loved ones this year.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@almostshat

If I were you, I would definitely try to reschedule, if at all possible. I postponed my flight as far as I could. Many flight companies offer changes for free at the moment, but cancellations/refunds is a whole another story.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@almostshat: As of now - yes, it IS until the end of July. I would reschedule now and try for a refund before the airline (unless its ANA or JAL who have been very flexible with refunds) try and force dates you don't want , which still wouldn't be set in stone or vouchers on you that you are not obliged to accept.

The EU will announce 15 countries that they will open the borders to later today - BUT, this is on a recoprical basis, so even though Japan will be on there it means very little until Japan accept their citizens also.

@smithinjapan: Its NOT double standards - whether I agree with it or not. I don't think its right that as a Permanent Resident I cannot return if I leave but I accept the law of the country where I am a guest, and that I live in. Unlike you, I choose to stay here and make the best of it rather than consistently complain. Once again, YOU choose not to say why on earth you choose to stay here! You must be very miserable.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

How many Algerians have you seen in Japan? They couldn't come in the first place so no change.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Did the MOFA really say we are imprisoned here until at least the end of July.?

theResident - I really do back smith on this topic. It is double standards when Japanese businessmen are permitted to fly wherever, yet longterm businessmen in Japan with non-Japanese passports cannot. I am basically Japanese. Pay my taxes here. Yet I am treated like the afflicted because of my passport. Yet my next door neighbour can travel abroad on business.

Do we know if Japanese are even tested at the airport or quarantined?

I also accept the law of this country - but when the law is clearly unfair and dare I say it, racist, then we have a right to cry double standards.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Yes - everybody arriving and admitted, Japanese included has a PCR test at the airport.

I am not ignoring the double standards - but I am if the opinion in this situation things are different. Sorry, I stick by it, but I assure you I am as frustrated as you. And don't take the fact that Japanese 'businessmen' are jetting around the world at face value. They were sent/sponsored by the government on some chartered flights and made to wear a full hazmat suit. Non essential travel is off the table in Japan pretty much like anywhere else. Your average Japanese person will not be going on vacation as there isn't an insurer out there who will cover anyone right now, and as the locals tend to travel on package tours, the companies that organize them and arrange said insurance are not doing any business. Don't read too much into it.

US Citizens are on a travel ban. UK Citizens are on a travel ban. Its not that much different that anywhere else in all fairness.

I know some people ( non Japanese) who have left Japan in the last 2 weeks, who have children in School here and have been able to obtain re-entry permits with no problem and there are other exceptions in place should your family members (touch wood not) become critically ill or die.

There is no need to travel right now. Where would you go that would actually be safer than here. It's not many places. I see your point taking smiths view - But his view is always so anti-Japanese that its hard to take seriously.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@theResident

I would have up-voted you twice if I could.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The situation in Japan: spread clusters are karaoke, night clubs, nightlife districts. Government openly talks about it but doesn't do anything about it, not shutting those down, not even issuing recommendations to do so for these establishments. (Makes me think that such businesses are considered to be "essential businesses" in Japan? In such an example, perhaps, I can imagine, "oh, i surely won't go to museum or zoo because of the pandemic, but i'll die if i don't go to that hostess club".)

EU opens borders to Japan, yet Japan adds 18 more countries to the list and extrends its entry ban for previous ones. Oh, EU, this should have been a matter of reciprocity, not just opening your heart too soon.

Imho, it is definity discriminatory to not allow foreign permanent or long term residents to come back to Japan. Many people have aging parents outside of Japan, and you know, every year counts, not everyone fights or hates their family and many people are close with their parents and siblings, and want to visit them, because, once again, as I mentioned, AGING PARENTS. And when we talk about attending funerals as a "safe to return" reason, but weddings are not? Japanese nationals are allowed to come back with 14 days quarantine NO QUESTIONS ASKED (I do mean they are not being asked "why the heck did you leave Japan and went there and there, and where are the documents to prove your specified reason").

It is unfair and discriminatory because there is a legal permission to reside in the country without any restrictions on travel (who'd come to live here or anywhere, actually, if the condition was "you can never leave this country" so "you can never see your parents again"?), and in case of spouse/child visa, no restrictions on work either, and the only thing I thought was different was no rights to vote (of course, naturally, foreign residents in any country don't have a right to vote there and for a good reason, don't even need to explain that). But now, it seems, that permission to live in Japan long term with a Japanese family you have created, is a lot of obligations in paying taxes, but not that many privileges except being able to live in the same country as your spouse and children...

EU companies and businesses are contemplating moving their businesses elsewhere out of Japan for this reason (negative effect on their businesses), and I am now contemplating to relocating my Japanese family members to EU, since if we lived in EU and they would have permissions of residency, they wouldn't have any troubles of returning to EU, as residents, even amid pandemic, but I can't return to Japan if I leave at the moment, even I have permission of recidency here. What's happening here is...very NG, imho.

If, fear of wave two, then: scenario 1) close nightclubs, karaoke, nightlife districts, then - don't allow anyone to leave/return to Japan, including nationals (hey, historically, it has been done for a few centuries, so what's a few months). scenario 2) close nightlife districts, but let those with permission to live in Japan (including national and foreign residents) return to Japan WITH mandatory 14 days quarantine and without any other problems (like separating families). scenario 3) since, it seems, government is currently unwilling to close nightlife districts and other establishments responsible for infection spread clusters, Japanese nationals and foreign residents should be allowed back into the country with a PCR test or something, but only self-quarantined for 14 days, not in government facilities, because domestic spread clusters remain open under government's watchful eye.

Personally, I would say scenario nr 2 is the most sane case for my brain.

But imho, let's see when bans for foreign residents will be lifted, however I have already lost trust and will be thinking about permanent relocation in the future. There are many good things in Japan, but trust is important, and atm I feel discriminated more than before, feel trapped, feel like I have to choose between my spouse + kids and my parents + siblings. That's inhuman (or, perhaps I should say, deeply disappointing), and I suppose I'm not the only one to feel this way here. Or, did I just have had my eyes open and have had things discrimination-wise too easy before? Since many foreign residents talked about discrimination but I didn't encounter it that much, Now it's nationwide and coming from the very top....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Since the relaxation of incoming flights, we have seen a gradual increase in infections.... wonder if the two are related ?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I'm sorry - What relaxation of incoming flights? There never was one, just mass cancellations and pretty much nothing has changed in that respect.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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