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2nd Omicron case confirmed; Japan to bar foreign residents' re-entry from 10 African nations

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Once again, it seems the virus cares a lot about the passport.

33 ( +40 / -7 )

I don’t get it. Japanese citizens that are currently in these countries can return when they wish, but non Japanese will be shut out?

Naked racism, pure and simple.

24 ( +38 / -14 )

This is a violation of human rights, don't we pay the same taxes as our Japanese fellows do?

As residents, our life, our family, our activities are based in Japan and nowhere else, the authorities shall not have the power to strand us while nationals are free to travel and spread.

22 ( +45 / -23 )

Quote from above: "Japan will bar re-entry of all foreigners, including residents with long-term visas, who have recently been to any of 10 African countries likely to have widespread infections of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the government said Wednesday." This is a virtual death sentence. But Japanese who have been to those 10 African can return to Japan no matter how diseased they are. Kishida, like Abe, has made a mockery of permanent residency in Japan.

22 ( +32 / -10 )

@Joffy: Abe did exactly the same April 2020-August2020. Shut ALL foreign residents out.

21 ( +24 / -3 )

This is just simply the new PM Kishida wanting to appear to the locals that he is tough and is up to the job.

Nothing to do with the virus.

The PM needs to prove himself and using the gaijin card always worked with the audience.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Tokyo-m, you took the first sentence I was just going to write. "Here we go again."

Supposedly the restriction is "for the time being," but we all know that probably means that restriction is here for many months. Probably only months after the whole omicron has settled down, will the gov consider releasing the restriction.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

@jeancolmar

The problem is that the J gov doesn't acknowledge such as thing as permanent residency. On paper yes, but in their eyes, everyone who isn't ethnically Japanese and wasn't born here is an outsider whose basic rights are only favours that can be taken away any time it's politically advantageous. The way they avoid the word "immigration" when discussing policy is one of the things that demonstrate this.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

@Mark

Actually, Japan has been the only G7 country to exclude residents with long-term visas while allowing citizens in. I'm not going to say anything to defend the responses of those other countries, but this type of distinction based on nationality is not common in other developed nations.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

...part of efforts to keep out the Omicron variant

Ermm, hello, it ALREADY is in this "glourious" country!

11 ( +16 / -5 )

What's the point of our visa's then? Residents in Japan means they live here.

I just can't fathom how they quickly decide on alienating foreigners in this country without any science or logic. I guess things will never change.

11 ( +18 / -7 )

When you go to a party you pitch in some beer money, don't you? However that doesn't make you part of the household.

I hope you're joking, your example doesn't make any sense, it's like pitch in beer money and being told to drink it outside because I am a foreigner, this is what they are doing.

Virus doesn't know nationalities and having family and contributing to the Japanese economy with my work makes me eligible to have the same rights as national Japanese.

Not to mention your "us" and "youse" mentality...

11 ( +18 / -7 )

And away we go. This is why I canceled Christmas back in the states.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Throughout this pandemic I have traveled to/from Japan twice already PCR test or quarantine is not stopping me from seeing my children. I will go home in few weeks to spend Christmas and return first week of January. A 160,000 yen plane ticket or this omicron variant will not stop me from seeing my family. If Japan will not let me return on schedule so be it.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

disctiminating against foreign passport holders with long-term visas who pose no higher risk than those with Japanese visas.

Well actually the government have told airlines to stop bookings from taking place so Japanese nationals will also find themselves in this predicament. They can't actually ban Japanese nationals from returning home but I think this effectively does that.

I know everyone's disappointed (me too, I had plans to return home for the first time in three years) but I don't want to see another state of emergency with businesses having to shut down either. There are so many places already that had to shut down permanently from last time.

Maybe it feels good to trash the government but they are taking these steps for a reason.

Fingers crossed that early reports of Omicron being less virulent than previous strains are accurate.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

So people can own cars and houses, pay taxes out the arse, own a business or whatever and they can just lock you out of that?

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Japan has now been flagged. Hope they don't mind reciprocation.

8 ( +27 / -19 )

Second case has been confirmed. Entry point was Narita and it was at the end of last month.

Japanese article from NHK News Web

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20211201/k10013369781000.html

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I had feared that after the Olympics Japan would be back to form.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Richard Gallagher

Wow. So it's not racist to give preferential treatment to one nationality but bigotted to demand equal treatment. I have never paid income tax in my old country, which I left over a decade ago. Most of us have families and jobs here. If separating us from those because of arbitrary regulations with no solid scientific justification (other than nihonjiron, of course) isn't a violation of human rights, I don't know what is.

I think most of us understand the severity of the pandemic. But having the government of a country where we've spent often most of our lives throw us overboard every time it suits its nationalist government just feels terrible. Sorry if that makes us entitled. Oh, and some of us (like myself) are minorities in our old countries and have experienced racism there. Pray tell, where can we go to not be treated like second-class citizens?

8 ( +12 / -4 )

doesn't make you one of us. Want to be treated the same as the locals, at least on the paper? Apply for naturalization, it's free.

lol naturalized or not unless you speak Japanese fluently and look asian youll never be treated as Japanese anybody getting naturalized just for that is kidding themselves. I can tell you for a fact my passport is worth way too much to just throw it away and become Japanese , id be going backwards.

If things become unbearable in Japan I can always packup with the family and move.

So unless you originally come from a 2nd or 3rd world country becoming a J citizen is just burning bridges

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Reminder for "permanent residents" of how you're really treated in Japan.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Matsuno said Japan will deny re-entry to all foreigners, including residents with long-term visas,

Here we go again. Wonder if they'll make testing available more widely, which would, you know, actually help prevent the spread unlike disctiminating against foreign passport holders with long-term visas who pose no higher risk than those with Japanese visas.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Please be aware that the virus will be here forever. whether in a weaker or stronger version. Will you keep the borders closed forever? Then good luck. I very much regret the families that are divided. I firmly hope that the EU and the US will consider you and will not let Japanese citizens into their territories.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Matsuno said Japan will deny re-entry to all foreigners, including residents with long-term visas...

Riiiiight...because the virus can clearly differentiate who is Japanese and who is not. I can't believe Japan is still able to get away with this kind of blatant discrimination. It's a complete violation of human rights. If that's the way they want to go about things then those with long-term visas who are unable to come back should be exempt from paying rent, bills, and taxes until they are allowed to return and the government should fork out the cash for these expenses.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Even Japanese nationals living abroad now can't book flights back to Japan from today.

It is not only us foreigners but everyone is affected.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@Richard Gallagher

Dick, come on now that's insane. If you can own a business, a house, car etc and the government can just decide you don't have access to that anymore that's a load. Yeah it might be legal, but I dont see the fact that your life can be cancelled, when you haven't broken any laws, written anywhere on my zairyu card.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Many seem to think that “it’s the law of the country”: it actually isn’t, the constitution and laws of Japan guarantee the human rights of legal foreign residents, including the right to freely enter the country, but leave the interpretation of what those rights are in certain situations to the government.

Banning entry, restricting even more the criteria for special circumstances, have obviously nothing to do with the constitution or the laws of the country. They are a temporary and violent abuse of power by a right wing xenophobic government that wouldn’t stand in the constitutional court if made permanent, as they are purely based on discriminatory basis.

Law of the country my donkey. Shame.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

This is blatant discriminatory and racist toward the long term residents with strong ties and families here.

The worst part is that many locals don’t feel that these new rules are either discriminatory or unjust.

Japan sadly changed and it’s changing to the worst in the last ten years.

The people wanted these right wingers at the helm of their arcipelago and now they get what they deserve.

Very frustrating for the visible minorities.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Let me see if you are a foreigner visiting from Africa you are a possible carrier so you can't be admitted to Japan but if you are Japanese returning to Japan from Africa you can be admitted. WAIT is it this OMICRON virus discriminating against people or is it the Japanese Government baka logic?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

"But Matsuno said Japan is narrowing eligibility for such exemptions as part of efforts to keep out the Omicron variant"

Meanwhile, Japan is repeating its Diamond Princess approach to things and let all the Japanese nationals on the same flight as the infected get off and go home via mass transport. It's a darn good thing, I guess, that the virus knows nationality!

5 ( +23 / -18 )

Yeah and TICAD 8 is coming Next year, in Tunisia.

This decision will definitely make officials from Africa thinking twice.

Thank You Kishida for opening up our eyes.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I was surprised that the pre-flight PCR tests did not weed out this sort of thing.

Actually, I lied, I am not at all surprised. It is all theater.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

2nd Omicron case confirmed; Japan to bar foreign residents' re-entry from 10 African nations

The stupidity of the government response is really laid bare in this headline. The first line tells us Omicron is already in Japan and the horse has already bolted, the second line tells us their response to this is to try to close the barn doors even tighter as if that is going to keep the thing that has already walked through the door out.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

But locals that’s OK, love to see the science on that one.

4 ( +16 / -12 )

@louisferdinandc

If I'm not mistaken, the Japanese constitution guarantees full human rights to all kokumin, which can be easily interpreted as anyone who holds a J passport. I mean, not that citizens' rights matter to the government either, but with non-Japanese passport holders, they don't even need to pretend.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Guy arrives from Peru, ban people coming from Africa. What part of the "pan" in "pandemic" don't they understand?

Africa and Africans, The punching bag of the world.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

But locals that’s OK, love to see the science on that one.

In basically every country in the world, a citizen has more rights than a non-citizen. It can be a huge difference (like in Singapore), or a small one (like not allowed to be the President of the United States).

It is what it is.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

so that's ridiculous. we have open borders and normally we travel and we have only one case. you are hermetically sealed and have two cases

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is bad news as the UK is letting in everybody and their dog without a test, no masks or any other preventative measures so all new variants will be wide spread in a week or so......

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I just read that all foreigners EXCEPT spouse and PR. are banned from entering Japan from the 10 countries.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@richard gallagher I will make sure to also cut my mixed son in two pieces and take the foreign half with me out of the country, sorry for the disturbance we might have brought to you only pure Japanese citizens with blood approved by Taro Aso who have the right to call this place home. It’s almost 2022. Twothousandtwentytwo!

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Banning legal residents again. Did they not learn last year that xenophobia does not stop the spread of Covid.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What's the point of our visa's then?

A visa (from the Latin charta visa, meaning "paper that has to be seen") is in the correct form usually an only one time allowance for entry after the willing to enter person and his / her papers have been viewed or looked at live and in person, as well there are no other contradicting facts or details that speak against an entry. That ‘viewing’ is not always at immigration points, in many cases people have even to ask for a visa at the destination countries’ embassy in their home countries beforehand. In that case the entry procedure is usually easier then, because they can quickly proceed because they have already been looked at before and only have to show the already received visa stamp or statement.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Guy arrives from Peru, ban people coming from Africa. What part of the "pan" in "pandemic" don't they understand?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Time to reconsider living in Japan.

1 ( +25 / -24 )

Got it ; )@IronLad 9:03pm: “One, if by land; and two, if by sea”. -“Thanks!” for that “heads up” @zichi 9:03pm : )

@zichi 9:03pm: Iron Lad *[Please fortify the borders. Thank you, Kishida-san.] “*Are you expecting some kind of invasion?” -

1 ( +1 / -0 )

youll never be treated as Japanese

Hence 'on the paper'. Actually being a Japanese National with a western face is the best deal IMO. You get all the perks of being Japanese at the border and when dealing with the government but you can still 'gaijin-smash' your way into many things. I telling you from experience.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

2nd Omicron case confirmed;

LOL, they start counting with single digits? The strain is here, and if its infectiousness is anywhere near as what it is estimated, you can add a couple of zeros to this. My prediction is that all of us will get in contact with Omicron. Let us hope that it is as harmless as it currently looks like to be.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Same policy for flights was implemented for 3 two week periods early in 2021 when things were very grim in Europe and the US. The only time true discrimination occurred was between April-August 2020 when foreign Nationals who were either outside the country at that time or chose to travel at that time could not re enter.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

*Japanese passports

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Well, I am talking from a moral standpoint...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@yotomaya old but instructive report by MOFA (responding to one of several enquiries by intergovernmental agencies on a Japan treatment of minorities and foreigners):

https://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/human/race_rep1/intro.html

All rights are protected by the constitution (and the numerous international conventions Japan signed to avoid shame), except when they decide they are not.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It clearly says spouses will be treated as exceptional circumstances, just long term visa holders will be banned (work visas) so those of us lucky enough to be married (to a Japanese) or permanent resident will still be allowed to travel same as Japanese citizens.

Phew I say because this isn't ever going away and Japan is going to punish us seemingly forever now.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Latest news reports say the Transport Ministry has asked all airlines to stop accepting new reservations for flights to Japan from anyone through December.

This effectively ends the "discrimination" between citizens and non-citizens.

I expect that foreign nationals outside of Japan wishing to enter will be very, very pleased with this new policy that treats Japanese and non-Japanese equally.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Can be anything, omicron also already longer in Peru, or infection caught in the not sufficient disinfected plane, airport, toilet, any other room or area where southern Africans have been before…anything, we don’t know. But what I know for sure, all that global traveling and open airports or borders, that’s nothing else than completely idiotic and potentially life threatening. Damage has been done anyway, so now better concentrate on handling the remaining delta and new omicron as good as still possible.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@Yotomaya makes sense.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Virus doesn't know nationalities and having family and contributing to the Japanese economy with my work makes me eligible to have the same rights as national Japanese.

No, it doesn't. It's up to the laws of the country. Just like you cannot be the President of the United States if you were not born a US citizen. You pay taxes and they "pay" you with healthcare, good security, good infrastructure, etc.

It's very likely they cannot stop Japanese citizens from entering. Most countries cannot, with the exception of Australia it seems.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

having family and contributing to the Japanese economy with my work makes me eligible to have the same rights as national Japanese.

Sorry, the law of the land begs to differ. The proof of that is in front of your eyes; they can bar foreigners from entering the country but not nationals.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

@louisferdinandc

Fair enough. However, when I googled the constitution in Japanese, I found that it indeed only uses jinken only in association with kokumin or Nippon kokumin:

https://www.shugiin.go.jp/internet/itdb_annai.nsf/html/statics/shiryo/dl-constitution.htm

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

If we are just now hearing about this monster virus IT IS ALREADY TO LATE!! When the world had realized what they were going up against the virus had already spread to thousands. Locking down the country now is a good thing to try to get a hold of the situation but the virus is already here.!!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Mr KiplingDec. 1  06:12 pm JST

This is bad news as the UK is letting in everybody and their dog without a test, no masks or any other preventative measures so all new variants will be wide spread in a week or so......

Oh, look. A big fat lie.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This is too late, Omicron is already spreading in UK and Europe, so Japan might as well ban entry of European visitors as well.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Who are these residents who don't reside in Japan? Suddenly it's against their human rights that they can't enter?

It was pretty obvious this could happen. I would assume that a resident who had interests in Japan would have returned by now.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Pray tell, where can we go to not be treated like second-class citizens?

To a country that you are a citizen of?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

People, stop arguing, Japan is not doing anything that is different than what the rest of doing, everyone is acting to protect their citizens, some more sever than others, but the goal is the same.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Reminder for "permanent residents" of how you're really treated in Japan.

How is that?

You're treated like a permanent resident like any country that has a permanent resident visa.

I have never paid income tax in my old country, which I left over a decade ago. Most of us have families and jobs here.

Why aren't you a permanent resident? You've been in Japan long enough. Your fault.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

How many foreigners without spouse or PR visas can there be coming from these countries, half a dozen? Talk about overreaction.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Please fortify the borders.

Thank you, Kishida-san.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

I’m glad they closed the borders! Keep Japan safe! What other measures could they take?

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

For those who went on a vacation away from Japan for whatever reason. Sorry, but we need you to sacrifice some of your privileges and endure some inconvenience at government facilities for a few days. And those who aren't natives who wishes to come back, please stay just away a bit longer and enjoy xmas back at your home country. Lockdown will only be till the end of the year and until we know more about the variant. Do not rush to come back. Once again, please endure these tiny inconveniences for the greater good of the whole population. So we may at least have a peaceful end of the year and get to enjoy our holidays with our families. We are sorry for the trouble you might have to endure, but it's for the best. Stay well and stay safe.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

Amazing. Those foreigners who are incapable of comprehending the nature of a visa. Or the status of a foreign resident. Those are not in any way comparable to a native born citizen. Or a foreigner who has been 'awarded' Japanese citizenship. Let alone, that paying taxes somehow equates to the same rights as a native born citizen. Hardly, in the remotest sense, a violation of Human Rights, incredible hyperbole and self-serving rhetoric.

There is a pandemic. It is planetary by definition. Barring foreigners from entering Japan is simply a wise policy and invoked to prevent the spread of SARSCoV-2. It is not a policy to purposefully inconvenience foreigners who seem to drape themselves in a sense of entitlement. If you wish to remain in Japan, remain in Japan and do not travel to a foreign destination during a pandemic.

There is nothing racist about disallowing foreign travellers from entering Japan because of a pandemic. While allowing its own citizens to return and imposing a protocol in order to diminish the spread of a variant of SARSCoV-2.

Many of the individuals, from Western nations, especially North America are well acquainted with racism which is endemic to their home countries and exponentially so, in comparison to Japan. Same with various European countries. Accusing the Japanese, be it the peoples or central government of racism because current policy regarding SARSCoV-2 interferes with personal travel plans is odious and in fact displays a sense of entitlement and bigotry.

Completely closing the borders to foreigners, during wintertime, would be a wise policy.

The variant did not originate in Japan. It originated on the other side of the planet and was introduced in Japan by individuals employing international air travel.

-11 ( +9 / -20 )

This is a violation of human rights, don't we pay the same taxes as our Japanese fellows do?

When you go to a party you pitch in some beer money, don't you? However that doesn't make you part of the household.

The same applies here the fact that you fulfill your tax obligations that come with the privilege to work here, doesn't make you one of us. Want to be treated the same as the locals, at least on the paper? Apply for naturalization, it's free.

-15 ( +13 / -28 )

What's the point of our visa's then? Residents in Japan means they live here.

The point is that you have the right to work here, where you are somewhat "special." Back in your home country, your opportunities would likely be fewer (otherwise why would you be here?)

-15 ( +7 / -22 )

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