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Hi Blog. It’s going to be a busy next few weeks for Debito.org if the Olympics-fueled reactionary racism keeps creating conditions like these:
Yesterday Debito.org Reader XY sent me pictures from a friend from the Tokyo Akasaka Hotel Excel Tokyu, which has “Japanese Only” elevators!
TEL: 03-3580-2311 FAX: 03-3580-6066
The Shingetsu News Agency has followed up on this, contacting the Excel Tokyu on July 11, 2021, reporting the following exchange on their Twitter feed:
SNA: At the elevator of the Excel Hotel, we have confirmed there are signs asking Japanese and foreigners to use different elevators. Why did you put up those signs?
HOTEL STAFF: We started accepting people involved in the Olympics since a few days ago, and the Organizing Committee gave instructions that facilities should try to avoid contact between foreign and general guests, so we put up the sign of separation as a part of prevention measures against infection, prevention of Covid spread.
SNA: So you received instruction from the Organizing Committee and decided that this was a proper judgment?
HOTEL STAFF: Yes, but regarding the expression, several people pointed out there was a problem, and so we have no withdrawn the sign. We are thinking to make a new sign to separate patron lines.
SNA: Why exactly did you withdraw it?
HOTEL STAFF: We withdrew the sign to consider our response from now on.
SNA: Were you told that it is better to withdraw the sign?
HOTEL STAFF: No, we did not make a judgment about that.
SNA: By separating Japanese and foreigners, were you not afraid of causing misunderstanding for Non-Japanese?
HOTEL STAFF: The signs separating Japanese and foreigners were intended to be a part of prevention measures against infections for each.
Michael Penn at SNA comments: “Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu separated its elevators between “Japanese Only” and “Foreigner Only.” SNA called the hotel to ask them why they did it. The answer is that this was their interpretation of guidance from the Olympic authorities. Seems all non-Japanese are visitors. (MP)”
DEBITO COMMENTS: Where to start? Okay, how about here:
- The assumption is, as usual, that rates of infection for foreigners and Japanese are different. Never mind that:
- “Foreigners” as signposted includes ALL Non-Japanese (including Residents), regardless of whether they’ve actually left Japan and come back As Michael mentioned above, foreigners are no matter what treated as an exogenous force.
- Plenty of Japanese have gotten infected from each other, not from foreigners. In fact, many cases of variants have been carried in and incubated by Japanese themselves.
- Even foreigners who HAVE come in from overseas have been checked and cleared both inside and outside Japan for infection, and if the systems are working properly, the foreigners (only) are barred entry. That especially goes for people connected with the Olympics, as we have seen.
- And many of those foreigners have gotten their vaccines overseas already, and at rates higher and more successful than Japan’s current lackluster (and slowing down) procedures for getting vaccinated.
- I’m not an epidemiologist, but I daresay you’re LESS likely to get infected from inbound foreigners going through the current GOJ quarantine procedures than from the average (generally-unvaccinated: current rates are at 16.9%) Japanese clustered in poorly-ventilated urban transportation, non-remote workplaces, and eateries.
This is once again a collision of poor physical and social science, with foreigners (including residents) being blamed for things the Japanese Government is doing wrong. And once again, “Japanese Only” services are being reflexively resorted to by the general public. As friend Olaf (a scientist) put it, “The failure of the jp education system. Unable to think logically, just follow orders, and unable to forsee the results of their actions.”
Again, SITYS. I knew this would happen if Japan continued on its course of a “Japanese Only” Olympics. Debito.org saw these logical fallacies starting as far back as the Diamond Princess cruise ship fiasco last year.
Finally, let me squeeze this in at the bottom. In addition to enlisting the general public (resulting in the predictable bullying of NJ) to find “illegal foreigners” (including a downloadable app to scan Gaijin Cards like a game of Pokemon Go), the Japanese Government is now asking Duty-Free Stores to check passports and rat on foreigners for breaking quarantine (since after all, we can’t do that to Japanese). From the Japan Times:
Japan to ask tax-free stores to report visitors breaking quarantine
Japan Times/Kyodo News, July 10, 2021 (excerpt), courtesy of JDG
The government will ask duty-free stores to check the date of entry to Japan in customers’ passports and report if they were shopping during their required 14-day quarantine period, sources close to the matter said Friday.
The government will also ask the stores to provide digital purchase records of violators to the National Tax Agency to ensure travelers follow quarantine rules, as Tokyo grapples with a resurgence of COVID-19 just two weeks before the Tokyo Olympics open, the sources said.
All travelers to Japan are currently required to make a pledge to self-isolate for 14 days after entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus upon arrival. Travelers from certain countries where highly contagious variants have spread are asked to stay in hotels or other accommodation for several days and take further tests as part of their 14-day quarantine.
Entrants associated with the Olympics are exempt from the usual border controls but are still required to take precautions, such as observing a three-day quarantine period after entering the country.
The quarantine rule has been frequently violated despite penalties for noncompliance such as public shaming or, in the case of foreign nationals, deportation. […]
In the request sent to shop operators, the health ministry asks them to provide information including the names, nationalities and passport numbers of violators to its Health Monitoring Center for Overseas Entrants.
If an Olympic-related visitor is found to be violating the rule, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will report the matter to the Tokyo Organising Committee. […]
Full article at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/07/10/national/shop-owners-quarantine-rules/
What a mess. I told you long ago that Japan’s governance and police forces aren’t mature or accountable enough to handle international events. The place, as Edward Seidensticker pointed out many years ago, becomes a police state whenever a significant influx of “foreigners” is involved.
There are a few weeks left of Olympic-sized ordeal for Japanese society. Again, I’d like to vacation this blog for the summer, but I think Debito.org might be busy reporting on the latest permutations of racial discrimination. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
UPDATE JULY 12, 2021: It seems the signs have been amended:
Okay, now foreigners have “priority”. That makes it all better. Not. The hotel management just doesn’t get what they’re doing wrong, and think it’s only a matter of wording. It’s still differentiation and othering of people based upon faulty science.
And I pity the staff member who had to carefully match font and font size, print, cut out, and paste the text over the old sign because the hotel management was too cheap to just amend and print up a new one. Very professional on all counts. — Debito
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