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Hi Blog. Time for a quick statement about a news event that is “low-hanging fruit” in terms of civil rights and international relations, but instructive enough for a mention on Debito.org.
Check this out: According to the Mainichi below, the Japanese Government (GOJ) wants foreign countries to recognize its “COVID vaccination passports” (i.e., proof that a person has been vaccinated).
But it will still subject every foreigner (including, as usual, foreign residents) to quarantine. Meaning it won’t recognize FOREIGN versions of COVID passports.
Funny, that. It’s yet another example of how Japan’s authorities expect to have their cake and eat it too. Like how institutions in Japan can discriminate against foreigners without much if any international sanction. But woe betide anyone who seems to discriminate against Japanese overseas. Japan has gotten away with this for so long (e.g., more than 25 years since it signed the UN CERD without passing any laws against racial discrimination) that the GOJ has accepted it as normal transactional behavior for Japan in the international arena. (That, or the bureaucracy is so silo-ed off that getting a coordinated vaccine passport policy across all of the veto gates would involve discomfiting ministerial turf battles. Boo hoo.)
Well, tough. Let’s hope that overseas negotiators have the sense to not be taken in by the “unique Japan” arguments as usual, and demand comity. You don’t get without giving back in kind. But given how lenient the outside world has been regarding, say, the overt racism of Japan’s exclusionary border policies during the pandemic (and now the “Japanese Only” Olympics), it’s not a slam-dunk conclusion as of this writing.
Thoughts, Debito.org Readers?
(FYI, I’ll be vacationing the blog shortly for the summer.) Debito.org, Ph.D.
Japan seeks to have vaccine passports accepted by over 10 nations
July 4, 2021 (Mainichi Japan), courtesy of AW
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan is making arrangements for its COVID-19 vaccination passports to be accepted by over 10 nations, including Italy, France and Greece, after the certificate program begins in late July, government sources said Sunday.
If the agreements are reached, certificate holders will be exempt from quarantine or showing negative test results for COVID-19 when traveling from Japan to those countries, the sources said.
But the Japanese government plans to continue requiring travelers entering Japan, including returnees, to quarantine for two weeks even if they have been vaccinated. The position has complicated negotiations with countries such as Singapore and Israel, which have called for mutual exemption, the sources said.
So-called vaccine passports are official documents showing a person has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The certificate, to be issued by municipalities, will include the holder’s name, passport number and date of vaccination.
Business circles in Japan have been calling for the introduction of vaccine passports. The country’s largest business lobby, the Japan Business Federation, known as Keidanren, proposed in late June that such certificates be in digital format.
Japan has lagged behind the United States, Britain and Israel, among others, in its rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations. However, it has stepped up efforts to inoculate citizens ahead of the Tokyo Olympics starting on July 23.
A quasi-state of emergency is in place for urban areas like Tokyo amid fears of the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.
“Until we see the spread of the Delta variant subside, it will be difficult to allow the mutual exemption of quarantine,” a Japanese government source said.
Japan has a sweeping entry ban on foreign nationals to cope with the pandemic, except those with approval given under “special exceptional circumstances.” Travelers entering Japan are asked to stay at home or a designated facility for 14 days after arrival.
The European Union has its own digital vaccination passport for EU citizens and residents. Certificate holders are exempt from testing and quarantine when traveling to a different country within the bloc.
The World Health Organization does not endorse making vaccine passports mandatory for travelers as equal access to COVID-19 vaccines has not been ensured.
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