In the Face of the Covid-19, Japan closes itself to foreigners - The Point

"It is beyond disappointment" : the president of the European Business Council (EBC) in Japan, Michael Mroczek, don't hide not to be dismayed by the japanese

In the Face of the Covid-19, Japan closes itself to foreigners - The Point

"It is beyond disappointment" : the president of the European Business Council (EBC) in Japan, Michael Mroczek, don't hide not to be dismayed by the japanese policy vis-à-vis foreign residents. They inhabit the archipelago in the last three months, one year, twenty or even fifty years, all are treated almost like a tourist, even those who have a permanent status. If they leave temporarily the country for personal or professional reasons, they are not allowed to return.

This measure so-called "regulating the borders in the face of the Covid-19" applies to those who have resided during the preceding 14 days in one or more of the 146 countries that are classified at the alert level 3 by the japanese authorities. And this, regardless of the status of individuals : permanent resident, student, professional, spouse of Japanese or permanent resident. "This is a very serious problem for the foreign workers and their families as well as for foreign companies in Japan," insists Christopher LaFleur, president of the american chamber of commerce in Japan.

Japan is marginalized on the international scene.

About 85 % of the 376 companies (of which 80 are French) who responded to a survey of the EBC on the impact of this policy say the negative consequences, and 44 % a financial loss. "This will have serious effects on the japanese economy ", because investors will think twice, " says Dr. LaFleur. "These restrictions relate only to the foreigners : japanese businessmen are free to enter and leave the country for a PCR test and the precautions the return. There is no scientific basis to this policy. We want that the same rules apply to all those who reside in Japan regardless of their nationality ", says he, in unison with many others, including in the embassies... but without being heard.

"as an employer and recruiter, I have to deal, on the one hand to employees who want to shorten their expatriation, and, on the other hand, to other, foreign-based, who decline offers for new positions here in Tokyo," said a senior official of a major French group in the archipelago. "Japan, in cowering and letting her old demons to resurface, is being marginalised on the international scene ". And to add : "as a resident alien myself, living and paying my taxes in Japan, I saw very little about this discrimination. My wife had to go to Europe for administrative procedures concerning our children, and we risk not to see us until several months. "

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"journalists who usually cover also other countries of Asia are blocked in Japan and financially, it is not neutral," says Richard Lloyd Parry, a correspondent for The Times.

The anger of the head of japanese diplomacy

"Frankly, I'm starting to have doubts about my commitment vis-à-vis Japan," says Julie S. consultant that the japanese authorities prevent, de facto, to see his family in France after the recent death of his father. "I injured to feel my rights being violated. I have not been able to attend the funeral, I just ask to stay one or two weeks in France. I think it's the government, but not citizens, completely lacks empathy. Through my work, I promote the Japan, so I'm disappointed to be treated identically to a simple tourist. As foreigners, we will never have the same rights. It is seen as a danger and a problem, it is a pity. "

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The other major democratic nations, the countries of Europe in the first place, do not make a distinction by nationality : citizens and resident aliens are treated the same way.

Among the tens of thousands of Japanese who have lived abroad, some have returned with the virus. © DR

Asked about this situation considered " abnormal ", the minister of foreign Affairs of japan, Toshimitsu Motegi, was angry : "No, this is not abnormal. If you think that you can leave the enter and exit of aliens like that without worrying about how to prevent the spread of the virus, well, you and I do not have the same design of the measures to be taken. "Except that, at the same time, tens of thousands of Japanese went abroad, and some have returned with the virus.

No future

According to an official of the immigration service, in a quandary to justify the segregation present, approximately 17 000 foreign residents who are out of the country after the April 3, are not allowed to come back, " and have no immediate prospect of return. Some 88 000 other parties before the entry into force of the restrictions, should be allowed to gradually return after five months of anguish.

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Updated Date: 25 July 2020, 12:33

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