My SNA Visible Minorities column 22: “Interrogating the Discriminatory Covid Self-Quarantine Scandal”, May 17, 2021


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Hi Blog. Hello Newsletter Readers. This month’s SNA Visible Minorities column 22 updates us on how Japan’s discriminatory border policies disproportionately punish Non-Japanese residents, even when things that are going wrong are due to government mismanagement. Paraphrased excerpt:

Visible Minorities: Interrogating the Discriminatory Covid Self-Quarantine Scandal
By Debito Arudou, May 17, 2021 (condensed intro)

SNA (Tokyo) — Sometimes government-designed policies lack sense. Or, in places where the government is as unaccountable as Japan’s, policymakers ignore cautions—-or don’t get cautioned at all because a docile mass media is mobilized behind a national goal. So when things go wrong, very bad things can happen, especially when punishments for noncompliance only go one way and hurt innocent people.

That is what’s in the cards yet again with Japan’s Covid border controls. The current policy is that if you are a resident of Japan returning from overseas, you face a mandatory self-quarantine system. Everyone, regardless of nationality, signs must notify the authorities of their current location each day. If not, authorities will contact them via Skype, WhatsApp video call, or by voice cell phone number.

If you are found to be breaking quarantine as a Japanese, you get your name exposed to the public. However, foreign residents will lose everything—their lives, livelihoods, and anything they ever invested in Japan—by getting deported. So with punishments this disproportionate, the government had better make sure nothing goes wrong. Guess what? Things are going wrong, and it’s the government’s fault…

Rest is at

Links to sources cited in the full article:  Kyodo News May 1, Japan Times May 12, MOFA self-quarantine pledge.

Enjoy! Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
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6 comments on “My SNA Visible Minorities column 22: “Interrogating the Discriminatory Covid Self-Quarantine Scandal”, May 17, 2021

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    ‘ That’s because Japanese journalism rarely treats news that affects foreign residents as part of the “public interest.” Put simply, foreigners usually don’t count.’

    Too true Dr. Debito!

    After all, the media is just a reflection of wider society, and look at what people ‘close’ to the Prime Minister can say with no sense of shame;
    ‘ immigration control and refugee recognition law had never been a priority for Suga, who saw it as irrelevant to the average Japanese citizen, according to his aides’.

    ‘Irrelevant to the average Japanese citizen’ explains why Japanese immigration has killed so many NJ with impunity (hat-tip to JK);

  • I wanted to post this in the newsletter comment section, but since discussion about the immigration control and refugee recognition law started here, I decided to post it in this comment section.

    It‘s a great press conference about Human Rights Abuses In Japan’s Detention Centers by the FCCJ. The guests are Thomas Ash (Film Director of “Ushiku”) and two former detainees. In the beginning of the video they play a few clips from the movie „Ushiku“, which shows detainees being secretly interviewed. I‘m really looking forward to the full release, because it looks like this movie can be used to name and shame Japan internationally for all the human rights abused they‘re committing, which will hopefully improve things, even if just a little.

    It‘s a very interesting press conference in my opinion and Thomas Ash earned all of my respect for making such a movie. He risked a lot by doing this, but the detainees that appeared in his movie risked even more. So kudos to everyone. I can‘t even imagine what they went through.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    A new twist!
    Over a thousand NJ connected to the Olympics allowed into Japan over the last couple of months EXEMPTED from mandatory quarantine INCLUDING 24 FROM INDIA!
    Whose fault is (and let’s get the terminology correct this time!) the FOURTH peak of Japan’s very long FIRST wave?
    Blame it on those pesky NJ residents going back and forth all you want, I know it’s the J-Govt’s fault.


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