Groups from US, Europe and Oceania protest Japan travel ban

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Western business lobbies have issued a collective protest against Japan’s travel controls on foreign nationals, aimed at stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus, saying the policy is out of step with measures in other major economies and will hurt investment .

Many countries have imposed travel restrictions to combat the pandemic, but Japan is among the strictest, effectively banning the entry of tourists and visa holders from more than 140 countries.

“This policy is contrary to the treatment Japan receives from other G7 countries and other leading nations that treat long-term foreign residents the same as citizens in health matters,” the groups said in a statement. released on Tuesday.

The joint letter was signed by business lobbies from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the US and Europe. American and European groups had made previous complaints about the policy.

Japan allows its citizens to return to the country if they take a test for the new coronavirus at the port of entry and observe a period of self-quarantine. Foreign nationals living in Japan face much greater obstacles to reintegration.

These measures “can only discourage foreign nationals and the companies they work for from investing in Japan”, the business groups said.

The Foreign Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The government announced last month that it would begin “gradual measures” to restore travel depending on infection conditions, starting with 12 Asian countries.

Restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the virus have devastated Japan’s economy, which recorded its biggest contraction on record in the second quarter.

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