German DJ Zedd showed how unfair Japan’s travel ban is

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Zedd is a popular German DJ.

Pictured, Zedd performs during the 2019 Overwatch League Grand Finals.
Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Blizzard Entertainment (Getty Images)

Currently, nineteen prefectures in Japan are under a state of emergency until September 30. But one of them, Chiba Prefecture, will host the Supersonic music festival at a baseball stadium this weekend. Zedd, along with Alan Walker and Steve Aoki, are among the international DJs who came to the event.

“Finally arrived in Japan,” Zedd said in a video he posted on Twitter. “I am in Tokyo. Now I have to quarantine myself for three and a half days.

Three and a half days? This is not the normal experience for permanent residents of Japan or even Japanese citizens, regardless of their vaccination status. Every Japanese and foreign citizen resident with a valid visa was forced to fourteen-day quarantine upon entering Japan. With the exception of exemptions during the Olympics, others have generally not been allowed at all. To monitor citizens and residents, it is necessary to install mobile tracking applications that allow daily recordings and video calls. Foreign permanent residents must sign a written undertaking promising not to violate the country’s rules regarding quarantine, as this could result in deportation.

Things look much different for Zedd. In his Twitter music video, it shows where it will be quarantined. As he walks around his huge suite, showing off the fresh fruit, a gaming PC from Maingear and Valorant goodies, the whole clip seems completely obtuse to the situation in Japan. I don’t regret the success of the man, and celebrities get fancy gifts and hotels all the time – it’s part of being famous, I get that.

But what makes Zedd’s music video seem so tactless is that there are people all over the world who have stronger ties to Japan – they work there, they own property, they go at school where they have family – and they always cannot enter the country.

Since spring 2020, Japan has implemented a travel ban. While initially even those who had permanent residence in Japan were not allowed to leave and return to the country, this measure was changed. However, those who had student and work visas and were outside the country when the ban went into effect have not been able to enter Japan since. According to Nippon.comthe number of international students being denied entry to Japan could reach 25,000. The policy, Nippon.com adds, has been called unscientific and unfair, leaving students and workers to live their lives on hold. Like Nikkei Asia points out, the travel ban might have been effective in the early days of the pandemic, but now, “the original ban on long-term residents returning home has left a bad taste in the mouths of many foreigners, and the ban on tourism and business travel saps morale.

People are pissed off! They’re locked out, frustrated and angered by unfair politics – and Zedd’s tweet is getting its fair share of criticism on Twitter. The travel ban has separated students from their schools, people from their loved ones, workers from their jobs and people from their homes. The travel ban also means that there are no tourists, which harmed businesses. And yet, here is Zedd showing off his fanciful digs in Japan, oblivious to it all.

Zedd probably had no idea. He seems like a nice enough guy, but he’s definitely underserved by those around him. The clip feels smug and inappropriate, especially for those trying to return to Japan to live out their lives. They can’t get into the country, but this famous guy can, and he only needs to stay in his huge suite for three and a half days. All of this highlights who is really considered important.

“I’m ready for quarantine,” Zedd says at the end of the clip. No doubt, but the people who study and work here have been ready for over a year.

Update 09/21/21 – 05:46: asahi reports that Japan will no longer require passengers from 20 countries to quarantine in government-designed hotels and facilities for three days when entering Japan before quarantining them at home or other places accommodations. However, visitors will still need to self-isolate for 14 days. The measure impacts those entering from the United States, France, Israel and Thailand. Japan also raised its total ban for Japanese citizens and those on a resident visa traveling from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Additionally, an earlier version of this article stated that only permanent residents were allowed to leave and re-enter Japan. Foreign residents with visas are allowed to exit and re-enter. The article has been updated to reflect this. Students with visas, newly hired workers and businessmen are still banned from entering the country.

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