NILS Fukuoka Times

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What’s Happening Now in Fukuoka & Japan in July 2020


Japan’s coronavirus infections top 30,000 with 295 new cases in Tokyo – Tokyo

Japan’s coronavirus infections topped 30,000 on July 25, Saturday, with 295 new cases confirmed in Tokyo, as the country continues its fight against the pandemic amid a spike in infections in urban areas, authorities said. With about 790 newly found infections, the nationwide tally for coronavirus cases rose to over 30,460, including some 700 cases from the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama in February. The figure has soared by 10,000 in a mere three weeks after surpassing 20,000 on July 4. The death toll climbed to 1,009 across the country. The figure is the second-highest single-day total for Tokyo, which logged a record 366 daily cases on Thursday.

The daily figures announced by the metropolitan government reflect the most recent totals reported by health authorities and medical institutions in the capital. Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike reiterated her call to residents to wear masks and take measures to prevent the virus from spreading. She told reporters people in their 20s and 30s account for about 60 percent of total infections, but cases are spreading as well among those in their 40s and 50s and also to the Tama district of western Tokyo from the central area.

It is the fifth straight day that the figure has exceeded 200. The latest report of infections brought the total number of infections in the capital to 10,975, after its cumulative coronavirus cases topped the 10,000 mark on Wednesday. Tokyo has seen triple-digit single-day new infections on all but two days in July. With the outbreak showing little sign of slowing in the capital, the Tokyo police on Friday night conducted on-site inspections at nightlife establishments in Tokyo’s Kabukicho and Ikebukuro districts, where group infections have been traced. After the police inspections, metropolitan government officials, who also joined, checked if the establishments complied with the proper anti-virus guidelines.

While acknowledging the growing number of infections, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday the current situation does not warrant a re-imposition of a state of emergency.

Japan to grant re-entry ‘gradually’ to foreign residents stuck abroad – Nationwide

Japan will begin granting re-entry to foreign residents who have been locked out of the country for months by a travel ban aimed at limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday. Speaking at a meeting of the government’s task force on the coronavirus response, Abe also said Japan will enter into discussions with 12 Asian economies including China, South Korea and Taiwan on ways to safely resume travel.

The re-entry of foreign residents irrespective of their specific visa status will take place “gradually,” Abe said. Of the 208,000 currently abroad, roughly 88,000 people including students and skilled workers who left the country before the travel ban took effect will be given priority. The ban, however, has not been fully lifted. Those who departed later or have newly obtained a visa with plans to move here will be allowed in at a later date, a government official said.

Japan’s expatriate community has been outraged by the government’s prior refusal to let foreign residents back in except under “special exceptional circumstances,” a nebulous set of criteria that includes the death of a family member. Many other countries that have imposed travel bans such as Germany and France do not discriminate between citizens and foreign residents in granting re-entry.

The resumption of travel to and from the 12 Asian economies, which also include Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar and Singapore, is contingent on discussions for extra coronavirus prevention measures including mandatory testing, a government official said. Japan will also consider allowing in a small number of businesspeople from other countries such as the United States and parts of Europe if they follow certain rules such as traveling only by private jet and limiting their stay to 72 hours. The travel ban currently covers 129 countries and regions, with 17 areas including Nepal and Kenya to be added on Friday. Foreign travellers who have been to any of these within 14 days of arriving in Japan are being turned away.

Go To travel campaign comes under fire – Nationwide

Fearing a second wave of infections spreading from Tokyo, local municipalities, opposition lawmakers and social media users have asked the central government to suspend a major Go To travel aid campaign that aims to boost domestic tourism. Leaders of some rural towns say that driven by the campaign, travel in and out of high-risk regions like Tokyo may lead to widespread community transmissions. There were reports in local media of Tokyo residents being asked to stay away from parents and relatives living in rural towns that have reported fewer coronavirus cases.

The pandemic in Japan will turn into a “man-made” disaster should the travel program go ahead, Soichiro Miyashita, mayor of the city of Mutsu in Aomori Prefecture, warned. But Japan’s economy minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, said the government will cautiously proceed with the campaign, which includes discounts for shopping and food. The program, among the government’s top initiatives to stimulate economic activity and set to start this month, has also come under fire over costs as it subcontracts back-office work to a private contractor.


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