Japan maintains tight border controls concerning the Omicron variant
Sawako Utsumi and Sawako Uchida
Modern Tokyo Times
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan is maintaining tight border controls concerning the Omicron Covid-19 (coronavirus) variant that is highly infectious. Hence, Kishida said Japan would preserve its policy until late February and then review the situation.
Since late November – on top of past policies of strict border controls under the leadership of Shinzo Abe and Yoshihide Suga since the coronavirus crisis first emerged – Kishida tightened border controls once more.
Kishida said in late November, “The government is responding with a strong sense of urgency. We’ll do enough to control borders.”
However, with the Omicron variant spreading internally because of Japanese nationals and the laxity of the American armed forces on several bases, it seems unfair to clamp down on foreign nationals with strong ties to Japan. For example, according to Kyodo News, “Even entry of spouses and children of Japanese nationals or permanent residents in Japan is denied…”
Exemptions are made if “special exceptional circumstances” are announced. However, it is like a lottery for many foreign nationals who deem Japan to be “a special home.”
Omicron cases are gradually increasing. Therefore, Kishida deems foreign nationals to be problematic in hindering internal anti-Covid measures just like Abe and Suga.
Lee Jay Walker says, “All nations are dealing with the coronavirus in various ways. However, for foreign individuals tied to Japan concerning culture, education, family, work, and so forth over many years and decades: then many of these pro-Japan foreign nationals are now having second thoughts.”
The United States Embassy in Japan reports, “The U.S. Embassy strongly urges any U.S. citizens considering travel to Japan to review carefully the information available from the Government of Japan.”
The embassy continues, “Travel for tourism and most other short-term purposes is still not permitted, and there is no indication that this will change in the short term. Visa-free travel is suspended. Travelers who believe they qualify for an exception to Japan’s strict entry controls should contact their nearest Japanese Embassy or consulate for information.”
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