Oct 1, 2020’s new govt regulations for NJ Resident Re-Entry: Not much of a change. Racialized barriers still up; instead, “business travelers” and “foreign tourists” may soon be prioritized


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Hi Blog.  October 1, 2020 was announced to be a new day for Japan’s racist border controls.  From last April until then, all foreigner border crossers were legally treated as if they were a special source of contagion, affected differently by COVID than somehow-immune Japanese, and banned from entry.  Further, unlike any other advanced industrialized country, the Japanese Government banned re-entry even to all Non-Japanese Residents with valid visas.  Naturally, as covered before on Debito.org (see herehere, here, here, and here), this racist policy has separated families and destroyed NJ lives and livelihoods.

People have protested this, and media has questioned the actual science behind this differential treatment.  So on October 1, the government “changed” its policy to allow in “mid- to long-term visa” holders.  But as protest petitioner Sven Kramer points out:



On the reopening of the border for all non-Japanese nationals holding mid- and long-term visas

クラーマー スベン


OCT 2, 2020 — 

On October 1, 2020, the government of Japan reopened the border for all holders of mid- and long-term visas. Getting a negative PCR test result 72 hours before departing for Japan is a necessary requirement. I strongly welcome this reopening. As I have implied in the other status update one month ago, I personally can accept this overseas test requirement for foreign nationals who want to newly enter Japan. But it should be limited to new entries only. However, the government still is bestowing this requirement on all foreign residents, not distinguishing between new entry and re-entry (only special permanent residents and diplomats are exempt). It is my sincere belief that, at least when it comes to epidemiological issues, the procedure for re-entry should not be different per nationality. This is why I unfortunately have to announce that despite this very welcomed reopening of the border, this petition will stay up until every re-entrant gets treated equally at the quarantine booth.

The new official material by the government of Japan: http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001329914.pdf




法務省よりの資料: http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001327502.pdf

Review and sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-entry-ban-on-legal-foreign-residents-of-japan/u/27821948


Ironically, there’s also the issue of the Japanese Government now considering prioritizing “business travelers” and “foreign tourists” for special entry exemptions.  However, as usual, it seems our actual taxpaying NJ Residents (including “Green-Card”-holding regular Permanent Residents) with families and lives in Japan don’t matter as much.

On top of that, there’s an issue with how these PCR tests for clean bills of health have been enforced, from eyewitnesses at the border writing in to Debito.org.  I will get into this in my next blog entry. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

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14 comments on “Oct 1, 2020’s new govt regulations for NJ Resident Re-Entry: Not much of a change. Racialized barriers still up; instead, “business travelers” and “foreign tourists” may soon be prioritized

  • Dave Revering says:

    The rules have not changed for we Permanent Residents here. I have had several Japanese people tell me how great it is I can come and go now without realizing this is just another slap in the face to those of us living here. It changes nothing.

    As Di Griz said on another thread the fact that the IOC member was allowed to zip into Japan and zip out on a whim is a further slap to the face.

    For those of us here long term (and some of us still like Japan) we all understand the reality of the situation and have to make an judgment call as to whether to stay or not (in my case it is a no brainer – at least for now).

    In the past if someone said they wanted to relocate to Japan I would let them know of the ups and downs and also point them to this website and other resources and advise them “sure..if you wish to move to Japan then do so”.

    After what transpired during Covid (beyond what I expected to happen) my advice is now “no; I do not recommend relocating to Japan”.

    • David Markle says:

      NHK recently ran a program on the difficulties foreign students are having in coming to Japan to study because of the Covid restrictions. They featured one young guy from Thailand who was the only student at his Japanese language school lamenting about how difficult it was, and how he was not able to realize his naive dream of “becoming Japanese.” I thought; you poor schmuck! You will soon deeply regret your life choices.

      How can these people who come here continue to be so deluded?

      • The answer to your rhetorical question is that the Japanese Empire’s legacy still has a residual influence in certain places among those disaffected or alienated in their own countries, Thailand and Myanmar, as Japanese “allies” have a more positive view of the Japanese. Plus the postwar soft power pokemon propaganda and escapism, will appeal to children and the immature minded. Hell, it did for me but after a year I realized the fantasy and the reality Did. Not. Compute. Plus any western graduate of history or similar is going to labor under the dichotomy of “westernized” Japan and the imperialist legacies that linger under the Heisei/Reiwa veneer.
        This isnt purely anarchronistic; Jim pointed out Japan is currently training the Myanmar army (to commit atrocities along the lines of “Burn all, kill all”. Ditto, the Instlallment of Kishi Nobusukebe- the “(sex fiend?) monster of Manchuria”- as postwar PM, Abe’s beloved Gramps, and you can see how little has changed deep down.

        I am saddened by the little Thai boy’s delusional dweam, it was mine too for a short time, but he needs to wake up and the J govt’s Dejima style Covid policy is a blessing in disguise for the next generation of fanboys who think they can come here and assimilate.

        On the other hand, Japan does need street laborers, so I guess there is a place for him in the manual labor underclass of 3K work. I guess all that study would pay off, (though not literally, as he will be in debt), but for sure he can “become an honorary Japanese” in exchange for his hard labor. (Only partly sarcasm, sadly).

      • You know, Paris Syndrome was invented for Japanese who went to Paris in the 60’s and suffered disabling mental breakdowns when real life in Paris didn’t match the stylish movies they’d been watching back home. There must be an analogue for NJ suffering the reverse experience? Perhaps they just all become apologists or go home and stay silent out of embarrassment…
        Anyway. I was watching CNN today, and there was an ad by some recruiting firm looking for ‘bilingual professionals’ to work in Japan’s ‘exciting’ corporate sector, and the advert featured all kinds of NJ working in modern open-plan offices (not a fax machine in sight). In fact, I don’t even believe it was filmed in Japan. People were shaking hands and treating each other as equals.
        Another add was sponsored by some Japanese government agency and was flogging the tired old horse of Japan being crammed with futuristic advanced technology in everyday life, and all the amazing ‘opportunities’ for females in management.
        I felt like I was watching Jasper Koll’s fever-dreams!
        Who believes this crap?

        • I’ve seen those “female management” positions time and time again. What it essentially means is the term “XYZ manager” is added to their business card, a ~5% raise (still less than the men she “manages”) and now all the responsibility of complying with the deadlines fall on her shoulders. Yeah, you won’t be leaving the office before 8:30 pm anymore. Congratulations on your promotion.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    What is most galling to me regarding the re-entry of resident immigrants is the ban on using public transportation not just for the 14-day period after entry, but even to return home from the port of entry.

    Despite the fact that passport color has no effect on the spread of a disease, they demand that only non-nationals be lucky enough to have a friend or family member with a driver’s license and car who is willing to go all the way out to the airport to fetch them, or be rich and privileged enough to take an expensive taxi ride just to get home.

    Or you can rent a car at the airport — assuming you can drive, a privilege that plenty of people with eyesight below 0.6, who made Japan their home in part because of the excellent transportation system that makes driving privileges a non-factor in daily life, will never be able to enjoy. Such people are evidently such super-spreaders that they can’t even take a bus, train, or domestic flight back to their homes to quarantine.

    • Are you sure that the ban on riding public transport after immigration is only bestowed upon NJ? Afaik that rule applies to everyone without exceptions, although Japanese have a much higher chance to get picked up by someone, of course.

      • Mark in Yayoi says:

        I’m not sure about that; I had only heard that the government could not restrict the movements of Japanese nationals, only make recommendations. I will stand corrected if Japanese nationals are actually being banned from public transport at their port of entry.

        • As I unserstand it, it’s somewhat a “schrödinger’s rule” (for lack of a better analogy). The officials demand it, but they can’t enforce it. I thought it’s the same for NJ, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out the in case of NJ they actually check whether they go to public transport or not. Any experience reports out there?

      • I can confirm that in this regard everyone is treated equal. Japanese do need to arrange transport and stay 14 days at home too. So it’s not just us. I hope it helps to avoid misinformation.

  • Archiving the “business travelers” and “foreign tourists” links just in case:

    Japan to exempt business travelers and returnees from 14-day quarantine
    Business travelers and returnees will be exempt from Japan’s 14-day quarantine policy, government sources say. | KYODO
    Business travelers and returnees will be exempt from Japan’s 14-day quarantine policy, government sources say. | KYODO
    KYODO, JIJI, Japan Times, Oct 8, 2020

    Japan is set to conditionally exempt business travelers and returnees from the 14-day quarantine policy currently imposed on all overseas arrivals to stem the spread of the coronavirus, government sources said Wednesday.

    Both Japanese citizens and foreign nationals with residence permits will be eligible for the exemption, with no restrictions on countries, the sources said.

    With the 14-day quarantine policy a significant stumbling block for overseas business travel, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who has placed importance on restarting economic activity, has pushed for the exemptions to move forward.

    The government aims to draw up measures easing entry restrictions by the end of the month, the sources added.

    Those eligible will be required to submit a detailed plan of their movements in the 14 days following entry into Japan, including accommodation and place of employment, they said.

    Currently, people returning to Japan from overseas business trips are required to take polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the coronavirus at airports. Those who test negative are allowed to enter the country, but they need to self-isolate at their homes or accommodation facilities for two weeks.

    After the relaxation, people who are confirmed negative in PCR tests will not need to self-quarantine on condition that they submit activity plans and do not use public transportation for two weeks.

    Given the anticipated burden on airport staff in handling paperwork and other inspection measures, the government plans to impose a daily limit on the number of people eligible for the exemption based on testing capacity at airports and other ports of entry.

    Japan has already agreed to resume business travel with both Singapore and South Korea, under which travelers are exempted from the 14-day quarantine.

    Tokyo also plans to ease a travel advisory for some of the 159 countries and regions placed at Level 3 amid the coronavirus pandemic, a warning that advises against all travel, the sources said.

    The Foreign Ministry is considering lowering the advisory for some countries to Level 2, meaning that nonessential travel should be avoided.

    No country is subject to the highest Level 4 advisory, which warns against travel and urges all Japanese nationals inside the country to evacuate.



    Japan considering ways to lift entry ban for foreign tourists

    The government is considering ways to lift its entry ban on foreign tourists with the coming of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, postponed to the summer of 2021. | AP

    Japan Times, October 5, 2020

    The government is considering ways to lift its entry ban on foreign tourists with the coming of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, which were postponed to the summer of 2021, according to government sources.

    Japan is expected to set up an exclusive consultation center for foreign tourists who are suspected of having been infected with the new coronavirus and ask tourists to provide information on their health condition via a smartphone app, government sources said.

    The government may start these measures as early as next spring, the sources said.

    Currently, Japan refuses entry from 159 countries and regions in principle in response to the global spread of the coronavirus, although it has lifted the ban chiefly for business travelers.

    If Japan lifts its entry ban on tourists in general, it would mark a turning point for its border control measures that were introduced as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus crisis.

    The government has named the whole process of foreign visitors entering, staying in and leaving Japan with the term “journey,” and is discussing specific countermeasures at each stage.

    According to the measures, the government plans to ask foreign tourists hoping to visit Japan to download a health check app when they obtain visas at Japanese consulates in their home countries.

    The government also plans to oblige foreign tourists to acquire certification that they tested negative for the coronavirus before departure and buy private medical insurance to prepare for possible infection with the virus after entering Japan, the sources said.

    If they test negative for the virus in an examination they undertake when entering Japan, the government will allow them to watch Olympic and Paralympic events.

    While asking them to report their health condition via the app for 14 days after entry, the government is likely to exempt them from self-quarantine at a hotel and other places.

    The government is looking at setting up the exclusive health consultation center for foreign tourists after their entry to Japan to avoid putting too much work on public health centers that deal with infection cases for residents.

    There is also a proposal for having public health centers in Tokyo, which will host the games, deal with foreign tourists with a fever and other coronavirus symptoms, the sources said.

    The government plans to draw up countermeasures by January next year while monitoring infection situations at home and aboard, aiming to start accepting foreign tourists in April next year on a trial basis.

    By maintaining these measures even after the end of the Tokyo Games, the government hopes to help the recovery of tourism demand from abroad, the sources said.

    Still, Japan faces many challenges before lifting its entry ban on foreign tourists, with details, such as how many tourists should be allowed to enter, still up in the air.

    “We have to monitor future global infection situations closely,” a government source said.

    Other issues are likely to include ways to ensure the downloading of the envisaged health check app by visitors from countries that have visa waiver agreements with Japan, and the scope of areas tourists can visit after entering Japan.



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