Mainichi: Japan wants its COVID vaccine passports accepted by foreign countries, but won’t accept foreign countries’ versions; does the GOJ understand the concept of comity?

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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
https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210704/p2g/00m/0na/034000c

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.
ENDS

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7 comments on “Mainichi: Japan wants its COVID vaccine passports accepted by foreign countries, but won’t accept foreign countries’ versions; does the GOJ understand the concept of comity?

  • From what I have read, it seems that Japan won’t even accept their own vaccination visas of people who travel overseas and then return, being subject to the quarantine stipulations, even when vaccinated in Japan before traveling. Is this your interpretation, too?

    —- Where did you read this?

    Reply
    • cynical.nj says:

      Perhaps right in the article posted in this blog entry? The following passage specifically:
      ===
      But the Japanese government plans to continue requiring travelers entering Japan, including returnees, to quarantine for two weeks even if they have been vaccinated.
      ===
      Based on the above quote I have to say I too understood this piece of news just like Todd, it’s not about nationality.. really disappointed, I was hoping that one you get the shots the way back to Japan would become easier 😞

      Reply
    • cynical.nj says:

      Although I still would like to hope that gaiatsu would bring about change for both us returning and also those coming from outside Japan, as long as they’re vaccinated.. orz

      By the way, not sure why France was mentioned in the article, since, unless I’m missing something, it looks like France is already accepting people vaccinated in Japan https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/coronavirus-advice-for-foreign-nationals-in-france/#vaccination – although it’s unclear what one would need to produce to prove one has been vaccinated

      Reply
  • I read about this yesterday and had to laugh out loud after reading it. This is typical GOJ hypocrisy at work. The same as in the letter Japan sent to the UK after Brexit was decided, in which they demanded that Britian keeps its borders open and even increase immigration.

    https://www.insider.com/japan-brexit-note-to-britain-2016-9

    Or the letter they sent to the US when Trump wanted to ban all foreign university students from coming to the US after covid broke out. Ignoring the fact that Japan didn‘t just ban all students, but all residents from their country.

    It‘s always incredible to see how far removed from reality the GOJ and LDP are. It‘s exactly as Debito says, they want to have their cake and eat it too.

    A few weeks ago I read an article that stated that the EU will only accept other countries covid passports if they accept EU ones, I hope that the EU will stay resilient and not bent over to Japan or other countries in that regard. And it will generally be interesting to see when Japan will open its borders to tourists again. My guess is that Japan will be one of the last countries in the world to do that. The vast majority of countries I know about are actually already opened, but since Japan claims that only NJ can get infected, they have to stay closed of course. Well, at least the LDP and Nippon Kaigi dream of having a „pure“ Japan is reality now I guess.

    — Except of course for the nearly three million registered NJ Residents. And all the Visible Minorities not accounted for in the Japan Census.

    Reply
    • cynical.nj says:

      > I hope that the EU will stay resilient and not bent over to Japan or other countries in that regard.

      Bad news mein Kamerad, other than France, it seems that at the very least, some southern EU countries are also selling out already… -_-‘

      https://edition.cnn.com/videos/news/2021/05/24/go-there-atika-shubert-spain-travel-restrictions-lifted-tourism-japan-uk-dpweekday.cnn
      https://www.thelocal.it/20210513/italy-will-cut-quarantine-for-vaccinated-travellers-from-us-canada-and-japan-draghi-promises/

      — Yep. Japan gets away with it again. It’s of a piece. Thanks.

      CNN text:
      Spain will allow Britain and Japanese tourists to visit without a Covid-19 test
      British and Japanese tourists will be allowed to visit Spain without needing to get tested or staying under quarantine, the country announced. However, the British government still lists Spain on its amber list as of now, which means that returning travelers would be required to get tested and quarantine for 10 days. CNN’s Atika Shubert reports from Valencia Beach in Spain

      Italy text:
      Italy will cut quarantine for vaccinated travellers from US, Canada and Japan, Draghi promises
      The Local (Italy), 13 May 2021

      Italy wants to allow tourists from the United States, Canada and Japan to visit without quarantine if they have been vaccinated, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

      “Our goal is to reopen Italy for tourism, domestic and international,” Draghi said as he answered questions from parliament on Wednesday evening.

      “The pandemic has had vast economic effects on the tourism industry and we’re working to get it going again as soon as possible and in maximum safety.”

      While the first step is to vaccinate as many residents of Italy as possible before the summer, Draghi said, he also indicated that Italy would revise its strict rules on entering from overseas.

      The government will support quarantine-free travel for vaccinated visitors from “in particular the United States, Japan and Canada”, he promised, without giving details of when Italy would change its entry requirements.

      Last weekend Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio suggested that tourists from the US would be allowed to return from June, the month that the European Union has pledged to reopen to vaccinated or tested travellers from outside the bloc.

      In recent days government ministers have repeatedly indicated that a change in Italy’s travel rules is imminent without giving a firm date, to the confusion and frustration of people trying to finalise holiday plans.

      Leaders of the G7 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and the EU – are due to meet from June 11-13th, with travel sure to be on the agenda. An agreement on resuming tourism could follow soon after.

      Draghi also pledged to expand “Covid-tested” flights, which allow passengers to skip quarantine if they test negative for coronavirus before departure and on arrival, to “more airlines, more routes and more airports”.

      Currently such flights are only in operation between New York or Atlanta in the US to Rome or Milan.

      “We will however maintain all precautions necessary for countries in which Covid and its most dangerous variants are known to be widespread,” Draghi said.

      Italy has banned travel from India, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka until at least the end of May in response to the highly infectious new variant spreading rapidly in India and neighbouring countries.

      Travellers from EU or Schengen countries, as well as the UK or Israel, are allowed to visit Italy but are subject to testing and a five-day quarantine.

      Tourists from Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea or Thailand are also admitted, but must quarantine for ten days.

      Meanwhile travellers from the US, Canada, Japan or any other country outside the EU are only allowed to enter Italy for essential reasons, not including tourism. Those permitted to enter must quarantine for ten days, unless they take a Covid-tested flight.
      ENDS

      Reply
  • It’s actually easier to fly from Japan to some EU countries then the other way around. Japan was added back to so called Eu “Safe list” countries. ( I guess because of Olympic) This means to travel to EU one don’t need anything, I mean nothing. No vax (ufff good), no pre fly test, no quarantine upon arrival. Now, try to move within some countries in EU by plane. That’s different story. Traveling by private transport such as car for example in Benelux one don’t need anything either. No string attached.
    I can also add that Japanese must follow the same rules as foreigners while going uback home to Japan. This is why even travel to EU is easier I don’t see Suzuki family travel for a week to go through nightmare later. Yes, test with stamped and signed J paper is still required.

    Reply

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