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18 countries, regions restricting entry from Japan over virus

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pictured in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi/Shin Yamamoto)

TOKYO -- The number of countries enforcing entry restrictions on travelers from Japan is increasing in response to the spread of new coronavirus infections, with 18 countries and regions limiting entry as of March 1, according to the Foreign Ministry.

    The figure represents a major increase from Feb. 25, when just seven countries were restricting entry.

    According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the countries that have restricted entry are Mongolia, Vanuatu, Israel, Kiribati, French Polynesia, Iraq, the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands, Kuwait, Samoa, Micronesia, Saudi Arabia, the Solomon Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahrain, Tuvalu, Kyrgyzstan and Comoros.

    A total of 29 countries and regions including Vietnam and Taiwan, meanwhile, are placing conditions on those arriving from Japan, such as requiring them to remain in quarantine for a set period. There is a possibility that more countries could follow suit.

    At first, the majority of these restrictions were imposed mostly by countries in the Pacific that had insufficient quarantine infrastructure, including Micronesia and Samoa, but the number began increasing from around the end of February. The Japanese government has been seeking the removal of the restrictions, on the grounds that they could affect companies whose workers travel to those countries on business.

    It has also been reported that the United States is considering restrictions, but Japan has said that if such restrictions were imposed, it would have a large economic impact. As of March 1, no such action had been taken.

    Mongolia, Israel, Kuwait and some other countries are banning the entry of people who have stayed in Japan within the past 14 days, though if they travel via a country that has not registered any infections, they can enter. On the other hand, Iraq and the Marshall Islands have imposed total entry bans. Saudi Arabia is not permitting entry either, though it will make exceptions for visits related to the G20 summit to be held in the country later this year and for Japanese expatriate personnel stationed there. India has suspended the issuance of electronic visas and arrival visas for people from Japan.

    Measures taken by the 29 countries and regions that have imposed conditions on entry include remaining in a hotel or other similar facility for 14 days after arrival, or requiring people to undergo testing upon arrival at the airport. Vietnam is recommending that people return to Japan if they are found to have a fever or other similar symptoms. If they don't agree to this, they will be quarantined in a medical facility for 14 days.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan has prepared a web page with information on countries that are restricting travel (in Japanese). It is asking Japanese nationals to contact embassies abroad if they experience any problems overseas.

    (Japanese original by Ryuko Tadokoro, Political News Department)

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