In a surprising move, the government of Japan told airlines to close reservations for inbound fights to Japan for the next month due to growing concerns over the omicron COVID-19 variant. But after facing pushback from returning Japanese citizens, the nation has opted for limiting the number of foreign arrivals versus an outright ban on new reservations.
Japan Tells Airlines To Block All New Reservations To Japan
Under the original plan, people with existing bookings would have been able to fly to Japan, but new reservations would have been closed off for a period of 30 days. Characterized as a request rather than a mandate, the move applied to Japanese and foreign airlines. Both All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Air Lines (JAL) said they would comply.
The Transportation Ministry called this an “an emergency measure” after a second omicron case was discovered in Japan from a man returning from Peru. The first confirmed case was a diplomat from Namibia. Using contact tracing, Japan has placed 114 individuals thought to have been in close contact with the two positive cases into a “government-designated” quarantine facility.
Already, Japan has banned all foreign inbound travel and even banned returning foreign residents if they have recently visited:
- Eswatini (Swaziland)
- South Africa
That ban lasts for one month. Japanese nationals are exempt, but must quarantine in a government-designated facility for 10 days, followed by four more days at home, if they have visited one of the 10 countries above.
Other foreigners are simply not allowed in Japan, regardless of origin.
During a news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said:
“From the view of prevention, we won’t just restrict new entry by foreigners but also returning foreigners with resident status, unless there are special extenuating circumstances.”
Behind this backdrop, scientists are still studying the new variant in an attempt to ascertain its severity, spreadability, and potential resistance to vaccines.
After Pushback, Japan Drops Order
Overnight, however, Japan loosened its inbound flight restrictions after the government faced pushback from Japanese wishing to return from overseas. Instead of a ban on new reservations, Japan will now limit the number of international entries to 3,500 passengers per day (down from 5,000 in November).
Once again, carriers can take new reservations. Airlines have been asked to “give sufficient consideration to the needs of returning Japanese nationals,” according to Matsuno.
Japan is moving rapidly to close its borders only weeks after gradually re-opening them for the first time in over a year, but will not close completely. After banning new reservations, it is again possible to book flights to or via Japan. Currently, those holding confirmed reservations can still travel through Japan, even via transit. You can view my transit guide here.
> Read More: How I Spent My 20-Hour Layover In Tokyo Haneda Airport
Apparently rescinded already:
say what you will about the value of some of these policies, but I do love Japanese policy occurs. The restrictions from a Japanese government are all officially “requests” rather than mandates and all voluntary, and they have excellent compliance.
Actual courtesy and civil behavior- wow!
I would like to make an open a letter to you, Matthew, regarding the comments section. Unfortunately, the website comment section has become pretty awful. Anything minimally touching on masks, vaccines or restrictions has become a shouting match and competition to see who can be the most rude. Although this seems to be more on the “anti” mask and vaccine side, I see a lot of nastiness and name calling all around. I would suspect that this is actually driving away much of the readership- the majority of us who have no appetite for such uncivil behavior.
It’s probably time to change the rules on the comment section. I can see why some blogs shut off comments of if commenters cannot have a civil and data- based discourse.
I have some ideas for consideration- I’m not sure which ones are good or bad ideas, but wanted to throw them out there and invite other ones that may lead to a way to still allow for informative discussion but stop the childishness and name calling-
1) Limit each commenter to 2 comments (this may stop certain people who think they can out- yell people)
2) Ban commenters (after appropriate warnings) who resort to personal attacks or name calling of any kind
3) Require people cite their sources of information. No, tweets, facebook posts, etc don’t count. Actual news or data sources.
4) Allow only certified commenters or people who identify themselves
5) manually review every single comment (yikes!)
6) Or just shut off the comments completely
Again, this is just brainstorming. Some of these ideas may be terrible, some good. Would love to hear other ideas and ways to dig clean up the comments section and make it relevant again
Even those sites that have more accountability and rules still have the shouting and nastiness. There is pretty much no way of eliminating it other than to turn off comments on the posts you mention. But that is also not good as I actually enjoy reading them and occasionally find some gems of information within. No, not from Acura, lol.
I do though think that limiting links would clean up a great deal of the messiness. Not all, as travel related ones can be useful. Bottom line is that people need to imagine they are talking together in a hotel bar and try for some sort of civility. No one is going to change anyone’s mind. But we can have a certain level of conversation that at least helps us understand why the other feels the way they do.
Let’s start with the one thing we all agree on, The Turkey Pastrami sandwich on AA is completely disgusting.
Reading the comments on controversial issues is one of the best things that I like about the blog, so I disagree about need to moderate them. Moreover, like myself, Matt is an attorney who is committed to the rule of law. I very much doubt that he wants to moderate people’s speech. No one is forced to read the comments.
If the blog posts focused on more travel news, elite status updates, and even credit card shilling, expect more travel-related constructive comments.
If blog posts tend to focus on the latest brouhaha about AA in Florida, anti-masks, vaccines, and purposely controversial topics such as “WILL YOU RESPECT MANDATORY POST-TRAVEL QUARANTINE IN USA?” then expect …strong opinions on either side.
I’m sure the chaos on comments is by design.
Good comments- thanks. Perhaps there is some intent and encouragement to the nastiness in the comments. Hard to know.
Joseph (and Stuart)-
Thanks for the responses. I’m actually interested to know how many people get entertainment value out of the comment section being this way. Obviously, a few of us responding is not a valid survey, but I do wonder how many people feel the same way as opposed to being “tuned off” or leaving the site altogether.
In response to “Moreover, like myself, Matt is an attorney who is committed to the rule of law. I very much doubt that he wants to moderate people’s speech.” I’m not sure what being an attorney and following rule of law has to do with “moderating” a blog comment section (in the blog usage meaning of the word). I like the idea of censoring for content one agrees or disagrees with but standards of behavior expectations while commenting are certainly ok. After all, the comments section already IS moderated from that perspective- for example the comment filter will not allow for strings of expletives and filters out spam and ads.
“No one is forced to read the comments.” Agreed and a fair comment! Absolutely correct- my comments are just input and I can go wherever I want or not. I also add that as a privately owned “blog property” Matthew is well within rights to do whatever he darn well pleases with it- a digital version of when my father used to say “My house- my rules!” many decades ago,
Above should read “I DO NOT LIKE” the idea of censoring….
just a bad typist.
Well, I haven’t has the pleasure of trying the Turkey Pastrami on AA yet, so you never know- I might like it (Ha!)
I know that many blog owners are hesitant to ban anyone, but there are commenters that have gone so far off the bounds of reasonable behavior and discourse it just needs to happen. I think we need to stop “respecting” the input of those who refuse to play by common sense rules of civility. These folks choose to respect no one else while demanding they be heard and demand they have a platform to speak no matter what it is they say or how they say it. I also think that banning commenters (like you- know- who) that seem to have run out of platforms to vent hostility will not be missed. They will never connect with reality, so banning them is perfectly fine. They will never change and will never be missed. They will always argue they have been banned for their message and not their hostile behavior.
Completely agree, anyone attacking me or my policies, or Hunter, Kam, or Xi Jinping, deserves an immediate ban.
Your schtick is tired.
Thanks for helping to prove my point.
GC – I don’t know about your comment regarding AA’s Turkey Pastrami. Did you really look at Matt’s pictures? Ooof!
Not sure Japan will ever be open to foreigners again, which sucks.