Foreign residents stranded abroad by Japan's coronavirus controls
Japan Times -- May 20
The coronavirus pandemic has prompted authorities worldwide to introduce entry restrictions on border traffic. But regulations in Japan have sparked a particularly strong reaction from its international community, as it is the only Group of Seven member denying entry to long-term and permanent residents and has set no clear criteria for their return.

The approach has left many foreign nationals in limbo — those who had headed overseas in earlier stages of the pandemic are now stuck abroad and face uncertainty about their careers and lives in Japan, whereas those who remain here fear that leaving the country would jeopardize their future as well.

Amid the restrictions, a decision about whether to cross the border due to a medical emergency in one’s immediate family can be agonizing. For Kvien, joining his grieving loved ones and paying tribute in person was an obvious choice. When he left, the travel ban was not yet imposed.

Under Japan’s regulations imposed April 3, all foreign nationals including those with permanent residence status and their spouses, even if the spouses are Japanese, will be subject to the measure if they try to return to Japan from any regions affected by the pandemic.

The list of countries covered by Japan’s entry ban has been expanded, bringing the total number to 100. In its most recent update, effective Saturday, Japan added 13 countries in Europe, Africa and South and Latin Americas, including Mexico, to the list.

While stuck abroad, foreign nationals may not be able to renew their Japanese visas, and some may lose their visa status if the situation remains as is. Although the ISA last week gave foreign nationals with periods of stay expiring in July a three-month extension, the extension only covers those present in Japan.

News source: Japan Times
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