Chinese upset about Japan's new Covid testing & quarantine rules for arrivals from China

The new border controls will kick in from Dec. 30 onwards.

Yen Zhi Yi | December 28, 2022, 03:46 PM

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Dec. 27 that Japan will be tightening restrictions on travellers arriving from China, in response to the surge in Covid cases in China following its easing of its restrictions on Dec. 7, Nikkei Asia reported.

Japan, one of the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists, reopened to foreign visitors in October 2022 after more than two years of strict Covid restrictions, provided that they presented proof of vaccination or negative Covid tests taken before departure, according to Reuters.

Disappointment turns into anger

The announcement on Japan's new border controls comes a day after China announced the scrapping of quarantine rules for overseas arrivals to China. Taking effect from Jan. 8, 2023, travellers to the country would only be required to present a negative PCR test within 48 hours before departure.

Chinese citizens reportedly flocked to travel websites to make travel plans, as the new rules would make it easier for them to return home, Reuters reported.

Japan's announcement of new border controls was not taken well by Chinese netizens, with many taking to Weibo to express their disappointment. On the popular Chinese social media platform, nationalistic sentiments tend to be amplified. 

Here are the comments that they wrote:

“Hehe... destroying the Great Wall’s door just to find out the doors outside are already closed.”

“The slap in the face came rather quickly, are the A4 papers (protesters against China's Covid measures) happy now?"

"For Americans who test positive, do they have to be quarantined?"

“Didn’t [Japan] just call for China to open its borders a month ago?”

In early December 2022, Chinese residents in Japan, joining in efforts back home, have demonstrated against China's zero-Covid measures as well. However, their rallying targeted the government's zero-Covid policy, and did not include the call for China to open up its borders.

Japan was not the only country that imposed mandatory testing on travellers from China.

India also announced on Dec. 26 that compulsory PCR testing will be imposed for those arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand.

On Dec. 29, the Indian health minister said arrivals from Singapore are required to submit negative Covid test results as well from Jan. 1, 2023.

The U.S. is also considering imposing new restrictions on travellers arriving from China due to the apparent lack of transparency on Covid-related data.

New quarantine rules

All visitors from China, including Japanese citizens and returning foreign nationals living in Japan, will have to be tested upon arrival from Dec. 30 onwards, The Japan Times reported.

This is a change from the current regulations where those who already had three doses of Covid vaccines or a negative Covid test taken 72 hours before departure need not be tested upon arrival.

Those who test positive and have symptoms will have to be quarantined for seven days in a designated facility. Asymptomatic cases will be quarantined for five days, according to NHK World-Japan.

Positive cases will also be subject to genome analysis in order to check for new variants.

Flights from China limited

Japan will also not permit airlines to increase flights to and from China, while direct flights from China will be limited to four airports, namely Narita, Haneda, Kansai and Chubu, according to NHK.

Kishida said that the border control measures were implemented to prevent a “sharp increase in the influx of new cases into the country”, adding that there remains a “large discrepancy” between governments and the private sector on the situation in China.

Nevertheless, he said that Japan “will do everything possible” to continue smooth international travel.

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Top images by Witthaya Prasongsin and Tomohiro Ohsumi via Getty Images