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Japan bars new foreign arrivals for 1 month over Omicron fears

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I'm beginning to think I will never see my elderly parents again and my son won't see his grandparents. It's just sad now. I've never been homesick in 13 years here but I really want to see my family now.

73 ( +82 / -9 )

I'm beginning to think I will never see my elderly parents again and my son won't see his grandparents.

Why? They banned leaving also? Or did they ban residents from coming back?

-28 ( +10 / -38 )

This is a very good news, but Japanese re-entry should be loosened a little more so more Japanese can return home.

-80 ( +5 / -85 )

They haven’t banned people coming back into the country but if the situation got worse, they could just suddenly ban people coming back in. It’s a mess - and he says this with no mask on! Does he ever wear a mask??

27 ( +35 / -8 )

Thanks Omicron to provide another excuse to this government to keep foreigners away from Japan

-13 ( +23 / -36 )

I had a trip home planned for the first time in over 2 years. Now I am scared that if I leave I won't be able to get back in even though I have PR status.

45 ( +51 / -6 )

they could just suddenly ban people coming back in

Just us non-Japanese.

43 ( +50 / -7 )

Good job PM Kishida! A very good decision.

-30 ( +18 / -48 )

For the time being, it just concerns new entries, but non PR residents might also be concerned for reentry.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Thanks Omicron to provide another excuse to this government to keep foreigners away from Japan

A lot of countries are doing exactly the same thing.

-11 ( +18 / -29 )

I am wondering just how many boosters would be given if it does transpire that the Omicron requires a new vaccine type - how many and is there a need for a booster of the new vaccine type as well? There might be a number of people who end up having six vaccines in total!

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Japan to ban entry of all foreign visitors amid Omicron concerns

All? Not all! One small band of indomitable Gaijin still holds out against the government - reentry permit holders.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

The article states that it is unknown whether the visitor from Namibia was positive for Omicron, but I just checked the Japanese news and it was reported positive.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

is this a ban even for permanent residents.

I'm supposed to be going home December 20th for a funeral rememberance

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Good! Good, go Japan!

-36 ( +9 / -45 )

It’s a typical knee jerk reaction that is not based on science but FEAR!

Omicron will not be the super spreader Armageddon virus that the media has hyped it to be…

16 ( +27 / -11 )

A Foreign Ministry official said Japan's response to the Omicron variant is the most substantial among members of the Group of Seven countries.]

Congratulation for the gold medal.

Why turn everything to a competition and boast when the outlook is favorable.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Citizens , PR and all legal residents can still travel - but even if vaccinated there is a list of countries that once again require a mandatory stay at a Government Designated 'Hotel' on return (yes, Japanese Citizens too) 10, days, 6 days or 3 days again with the balance of 14 days to make up at home. That list of countries will grow as cases are found. For the time ever Australia is on it (3 days). 3 day business travel quarantine suspended.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I'm sad to say it but this does seem like a sensible response to the current situation. We don't know enough about the variant yet so a little extra caution could well be better than a whole bunch of regret. Even though I have flights booked for December.

1 ( +14 / -13 )

Swift response

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

Kishida, who spoke to reporters after discussing the measures with members of his Cabinet, revealed that a person who arrived from Namibia has tested positive for the coronavirus, and analysis to verify which variant the person is infected with is under way. He said it will take four to five days to obtain the result.

Was the person from Namibia the only positive case discovered at all international airports in Japans and if

the results will take 4 to 5 days why not wait for the results instead of rushing and creating the impression the namibian is infected with the new variant. The variant has been found in europe, asia and north america how naive to suspect travellers from countries neigboring SA.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Returning Japanese citizens and foreign residents will be required to isolate for two weeks, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated.

so whats the point of being vaccinated? shouldnt there be separate categories or shorter quarantine?

-3 ( +14 / -17 )

@tokyo Joe

In the same boat as you, mate. It's very frustrating. Hang in there fella.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Regarding Kishida, he'll be jetting off wherever he likes no doubt. Put a mask on that face you fraud!

9 ( +15 / -6 )

I understand that the first reaction is to close the door in case of danger but you need to re-open it based on facts in a fast, timely manner that too without discriminations (Japanese and valid reentry permit holders should be treated same).

I agree with both of the people

From other website

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, also criticised some of the travel bans targeting African countries as divisive, and urged countries to follow science and international health regulations in their decision-making.

"With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity," she said in a statement.

"COVID-19 constantly exploits our divisions. We will only get the better of the virus if we work together for solutions."

Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Vaccine Alliance that with the WHO co-leads the COVAX initiative to push for equitable distribution of vaccines, told Reuters on Saturday:

"As long as large portions of the world's population are unvaccinated, variants will continue to appear, and the pandemic will continue to be prolonged."

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

 I've never been homesick in 13 years here but I really want to see my family now.

Sad to hear but no-one is stopping you from leaving. They are not banning outbound travel.

-15 ( +6 / -21 )

and nor are they banning incoming travel for those here legally.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Good and fast decision, although that can only be a first step of necessary measures to be taken.

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

Also - for the first time, they have put a review date on this unlike in the past. Why do so many have to be so negative just for the sake of it when many other countries are doing the same.

@Blacklabel. Trust you to make it a vax issue. Shocked!

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

How does the virus know if you are a re-entrant or a new entrant?

23 ( +25 / -2 )

Japan to bar foreign arrivals for one month is a good decision.

However as you can read Japan is not banning arrivals from foreign countries whether your Japanese or a foreign resident.

everyone from all countries being barred for one month now that would be the ultimate strict measure to take every precautions.

Nonetheless i think Japan is being more rational than usual in its contingency measures.

Better than Suga did anyway.

@zichi- If your already living here then there's no need worry about entering because your already here.

@gakinotsukai- If it wasn't for foreign influences and foreign products and foreigners Japan wouldn't have much of anything- your using a foreign language to prejudice foreigners for instance.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

It will help economy if Japanese abroad return home and enjoy like domestic people.

Japanese abroard most likely have a foreign family.

With the stupid non dual-citizenship and non accepting foreigners policies, they'll most likely stay abroard.

Good job, Japan !

11 ( +14 / -3 )

@gakinotsukai- If it wasn't for foreign influences and foreign products and foreigners Japan wouldn't have much of anything- your using a foreign language to prejudice foreigners for instance.

i guess you didn't get the sarcasm

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Omicron doesn't care about nationality. A Japnese arrival from southern Africa tested positive while the variant type is under study.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@Reckless

Indeed!

Popular among everyone eactually.

-16 ( +0 / -16 )

Can't blame them

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Closing borders seems reasonable although it hasn't really worked at any time during the pandemic. A lack of preparation with vaccination, mask-wearing and increasing hospital capacity was mostly what decided where the virus hit hardest. But this mutation seems to be able to circumvent the vaccine better than the previous ones, which is truly worrying (although there doesn't seem to be any conclusive data on the likelihood of developing sever symptoms, as far as I know).

One thing I'm concerned about it is how they will choose those 3,500 travellers. Not to jump the gun, but I can't see non-Japanese passport holders being prioritised over Japanese ones (with regards to circumstances other than their nationality), who are just as likely to inevitably bring in this variant. Closed borders won't make much sense then, but the J government (just like many other ones) will use it as a way to show that they're "taking action" without really doing anything and keep people out as long as possible. It wouldn't be a first.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

New virus and new shot released at same time! This business model could go on forever or until too many shots have detrimental consequences.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

TokyoJoe, I have not had face to face contact with my UK family since, I have lost count, i think 2016.

We Skype, regularly.

I genuinely worry with this new variant that I will be able to have close contact with elderly members of the family again.

So my friend, you are not alone.

I do understand the need for J people and government to be vigilant.

Japan has managed to contain the pandemic with the discipline of J people.

Sometimes one feels trapped inside a bubble for the necessity to combat this pandemic and humanities need for contact with their love ones

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Yotomaya, there's a reason plane fares are so high: limited seats. Basically it's first come, first served; if the tickets are gone, they don't care about nationality. Simple as that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@el

Your reply makes sense, but from the article, it doesn't look like it's airlines that decide. I'm really not being paranoid here. I'm just wondering what the process it. If they do leave it up to airlines, how do they get all of them to coordinate so that only the number of people to meet the requirement land each day at all international airports?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smart move.

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

Yotomaya, I don't know how they coordinate. I assume it may be something like landing slots, with each company/flight allotted a certain number of tickets/people a day. But just a look at the prices show that it's definitely an effort to make up for lost money, and the person who buys the tickets first, gets them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I had a trip home planned for the first time in over 2 years. Now I am scared that if I leave I won't be able to get back in even though I have PR status.

Yes, I am in the same situation. It's such a stressful situation. Just when we thought there was some light at the end of the tunnel.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

That’s a poor knee-jerk decision.

Lockdowns are only so effective. The best approach is to get vaccinated, wear masks, PCR and quarantine.

It’s impossible to find an agreeable solution when both ears are being screamed into.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

the Chair of the South African Medical Association, Angelique Coetzee, who discovered the Omicron variant;

"Looking at the mildness of the symptoms, there is no reason for panicking, as we don't see severely ill patients"

"The hype thats been created out there in the media and worldwide doesn't correlate with the clinical picture"

But lets all carry on panicking anyway. Its what we do now, right?

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Kishida, who spoke to reporters after discussing the measures with members of his Cabinet, revealed that a person who arrived from Namibia has tested positive for the coronavirus

Why would anyone go to Namibia?

Especially now? For what?

And on taxpayer money, no doubt.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Just back from a business trip to Denmark yesterday. Fortunate timing.

Incidentally, Copenhagen was really busy with restaurants and bars packed. The Corona Pass system by which proof of vaccination is needed to enter seemed to work well. Hardly a mask to be seen though.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I am with the frustrated. JUST when we saw a light at the end of the tunnel.....

My grandfather turns 101 next month and he was really happy to hear we were coming home for Christmas. Damn.

10 ( +20 / -10 )

Once a single case of Omicron has successfully crossed the Japanese border (and it already has), the entire concept of shutting the border is pointless. The variant they fear is already amongst us. Like every other variant before it, detection lags too far behind detection to stop it.

18 ( +21 / -3 )

I was gonna head back home and see everyone too. Sharing everyone's disappointment. I know it can still technically be done, but who knows what rules will change in both countries.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

J@Tokyo

You are probably right and yet I think (and I have been known to be wrong on occasion) that this the the right move.

At minimum, it buys us some time to find out how bad it is and what we need to do etc. And from a political perspective, what politician would take no action while a highly virulent strain spreads around the world. Joe is doing the same thing and it is probably too late already.

But I do take your point.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Our children"s futures are being destroyed by this neurosis.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

I understand the logic of placing restrictions on people coming from countries where this new variant is widespread - such as those in southern Africa - but it makes no sense at all for all the other countries listed, as the number of cases there is negligible and they are all quarantined anyway.

This is an excessively panicky reaction, and frankly, if this is going to be repeated every time there is a new variant then Japan will never reopen. Ever.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Definitely tough for families with members trying to get into the country, definitely feel sorry for them but I also like the strict moves Japan has made throughout the pandemic to try and curb the spread. Unfortunately there is no one good move that will please everyone, guess we need to try and stay positive and hope 2022 will be better than 2021 has been for many. Luckily my immediate family is here and safe and healthy. Good luck to all this holiday season.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

What's good for the majority of the populations should be more than good for the minority.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Some months ago when PM Suga dragged his feet in closing the borders, he was heavily criticized for responding after the fact. PM Kishida did not want to repeat that and responded swiftly, which I personally applaud.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

I'm beginning to think I will never see my elderly parents again and my son won't see his grandparents. It's just sad now. I've never been homesick in 13 years here but I really want to see my family now.

I’m in the same boat. My parents are almost 80 and haven’t seen their grandkids in 2.5 years. This is depressing, it was starting to look like we might be able to finally have a reunion in 2022 but now all that us in limbo yet again.

Its OK for me, but I worry about them looking at another Christmas alone. My little sister died just before the pandemic hit so my family is all they have left (and vice versa).

13 ( +14 / -1 )

And here we go... All the anti vaxxers quoting one source, Angelique Coetzee. All the same, because e she, one person, brushed this variant off as less dangerous with almost NO data to go on.

All of them trying to justify their months of excuses not to wear a mask and not get vaccinated. I'm wondering what wonder drug they claim will be effective against this variant over the next couple of days.

Wonder if any one of them feel a tiny little guilt about stopping many of us from visiting aged parents and relatives now.

Somehow, I doubt it and am looking forward to reading some of the more bizarre posts (excuses)

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

Ludicrous!

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Quote from the above article: "Returning Japanese citizens and foreign residents will be required to isolate for two weeks, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated."

This is a significant different from Abe's time when he simply banned all foreigners from entering and returning to Japan.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I believe the brighter folks know exactly how to handle this. For the others, run along and get your boosters. You are obviously slow learners.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Yeah, well it's probably a good idea to keep Japan's numbers as low as they are. Can understand the Japanese government wanting to do so. Will cost a lot more if numbers start going up. A month or so to check out the omicron variant is not so bad. Let's hope it's another mild strain that doesn't cause serious illness in most people.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The virus will not ask are you a foreigner?

Ban the Japanese too.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Am I right in understanding that only permanent residents who left Japan before this ban will be allowed to re-enter?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming freight train.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Apparently, Kishida has built a wall for us to not return to Japan. I haven't been back to the States in the past almost 4 years. Unfortunately during that time, I haven't been there for family traditions, burials, new milestones, etc. I can understand of people here have gone mad.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Chico3: I missed two funerals of family members as well, so I understand.

In any case, I like how they are returning to the arbitrary dates of "one month", etc. Why stop there, why not say, "One month, to end on the 28th of December at 8:45 p.m.? The virus understands and will agree to such terms, no doubt.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm all for masks and vaccines and even lockdowns i nextremis, but equally I don't want to spend the rest of my life cowering in my home. The number of jobs (and lives) lost not related to Covid has been huge, and ismply put, the governments around the world and their reaction to the virus has killed more people than the virus ever will.

My indsutry (inbound travel) is being decimated. We were already on our knees for the past 21 months, and this is the death knell for what we knew. I am sick of this constant shutting of borders to try an delay the inevitable.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It looks like Japan is following New Zealand's example.

One Japanese person told me she was in favor of the ban because things in Japan are just beginning to settle down regarding Covid. Besides, the holidays are right around the corner, so who wants this hanging over it?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Meanwhile.. U.S. Military are running around the bases unmasked and traveling to/from the US without any stay at home quarantine. Every week plane loads from the US are arriving at Yokota, Iwakuni and Kadena by passing Japanese quarantine restrictions. Nice that this is all hushed from the public

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

You gotta admit, Kishida at least is more decisive than Suga who always has a sit and wait attitude. Nobody knows if his decision is right or wrong yet, but at least he is willing to act and is quick to respond to emergency. Better safe than sorry.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

GOJ is so gullible! Please test every news first before you add more wood to the fire.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Seems you’ve had to state that same provision at least 3 times in 18 hours @zichi 11:42pm : (Yes, the headline & thread’s actually been open since 4pm Nov 29)

Still, while we may travel, many seem upset that family will not be able to come to Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@TequilaSunrise: I couldn’t agree more! That’s exactly what I have been doing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yuki Waseda, head of one of Japanese opposition parties submitted an urgent request to the Ministry in charge to also ban re-entry of ALL foreigners INCLUDING those with residential status!!!!!!! never thought I would say it but thank goodness the LDP won the election, although though it would not take much to persuade them to follow this populist line too

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@theResident: when you refer to “all” that’s absolute. Please prove it! Otherwise stop spreading false information!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For the record I’m not vaccinated nor do I see the need for myself to be vaccinated.

That's like saying I drive slowly so I dont need to wear a seat belt.

I had a bad cold back in 2016 and haven’t been remotely sick since. I work out 6 days a week, I get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water and get as much sunshine as I possibly can plus I air out my apartment daily to vent out my place so I’m not constantly breathing in recirculating bad air with bad germs. I have a very healthy immune system. I spend 5 minutes a day doing deep breathing exercises.

I don't think you understand science, none of that will protect you from the virus.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Your actually blaming the unvaccinated for this? From what I’ve read so far it’s been mainly fully vaccinated individuals with this new variant. So should we start blaming fully vaccinated as well? 

Yes he is. Like most antivaxxers you refuse, or are not intelligent enough, to understand this situation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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