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Gov't to ask people from 6 Asian nations entering Japan to prove absence of TB

Haneda Airport's Terminal 2 in Tokyo is seen in this Sept. 2, 2016 file photo. (Mainichi)

The government has decided to ask people from six Asian countries wishing to stay in Japan for more than 90 days to show certificates proving that they are not infected with tuberculosis (TB), it has emerged.

    The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare revealed the plan at a Health Sciences Council subcommittee meeting on Feb. 26, in response to an increase in the number of foreign TB patients staying in Japan.

    The people who will be asked to provide such information will be those who intend to study or work in Japan for a long period of time, and who present a high risk of spreading the disease. Specifically, people from the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Vietnam and China -- from which there is a relatively high amount of people with TB in Japan -- will be subject to the new regulation.

    Under current stipulations in the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, people with the disease are not allowed to enter Japan. However, the process of confirming in quarantine whether someone has the disease has been difficult, as subjective symptoms can be absent in TB patients.

    Under the new measure, the government will change the procedure for issuing visas, requesting the submission of a relevant certificate, as well as an X-ray from a specified medical institution.

    The government also plans to add about 100 other countries, in which there are at least 50 new TB patients per 100,000 people annually, adjusting the timing depending on the country.

    In 2016, the number of new TB patients in Japan was 17,625 people, of which 1,338 (7.6 percent) were born overseas -- a record high.

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