Japan denies entry to foreigners from nations of new Omicron Covid variant
Kanako Mita and Sawako Utsumi
Modern Tokyo Times
According to various news sources, a diplomat who flew from Namibia to Japan brought in the first known case of the Omicron coronavirus variant. As usual, the government of Japan will implement bans on foreign nationals while being more nuanced towards Japanese nationals.
Hirokazu Matsuno, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, said, “From the view of prevention, we won’t just restrict new entry by foreigners but also returning foreigners with resident status unless there are special extenuating circumstances.”
The strict ban concerns the nations that are known to be linked to the geographic location of the new Omicron variant. Thus nationals from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe will be denied entry even if people are long-term visa holders.
Japanese nationals can still return from these nations – and others – but will face different quarantine measures depending on the nations they have visited.
Currently, 159 nations are on the banned list – from Canada to the United Kingdom. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs website reports, “For the time being, foreign nationals who have stayed in any of the following 159 countries/regions within 14 days prior to the application for landing are denied to enter Japan in pursuant to the Article 5, paragraph (1), item (xiv) of Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, unless special exceptional circumstances are found.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) pointedly said, “Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods…In addition, they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data.”
It is essential that all nationals visiting Japan, check the latest news from their respective ministries and the appropriate airline carriers. After all, the situation is ongoing and changeable.
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