No. of foreign visitors to Japan falls for 4th straight month in January – Nationwide
The number of foreign visitors to Japan fell for the fourth straight month in January as the impact of a South Korean boycott continued to weigh, with further, sharper falls expected ahead as the coronavirus keeps away Chinese travellers. Total foreign arrivals, which include tourism and business arrivals, declined 1.1% to 2.66 million from 2.69 million in the corresponding month last year, Japanese government data showed.
Arrivals from South Korea – which has been boycotting Japanese goods and services since a trade dispute ignited between the two countries last year, plunged 59% year-over-year, the Japan National Tourism Organization said.
The number of mainland Chinese visitors to Japan rose 23%, helped by a favourable comparison with 2019 when the Chinese New Year – a peak travel period – took place in February. The Chinese New Year officially began this year on Jan 25 – before China halted all tour groups to other countries due to the coronavirus on Jan. 27. The travel ban is likely to have a sharp impact on Japan’s tourist arrivals from February.
Japan keeps high coronavirus alert as more nationals return from China – Nationwide
Japan evacuated more citizens from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak on Monday, while the disease’s spread prompted a hospital to stop accepting new patients and raised the possibility of restricting participants at next month’s Tokyo Marathon. A fifth government-chartered flight carrying 65 Japanese arrived in Tokyo from Wuhan, China, early on Monday, bringing the total number repatriated from the city to 763, broadcaster NHK reported.
With more than 400 people infected, most of whom are passengers on a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan is the country most affected by the epidemic behind China, where the outbreak was first detected in December and which has now killed more than 1,700 people.
A hospital in Sagamihara in Kanagawa Prefecture, 50 kilometres west of Tokyo, said it would suspend admissions of new patients as one of its nurses tested positive for the virus after treating a patient who later died of the disease.
The widening fallout is damaging output and tourism in Japan, undermining growth and potentially pushing the country into recession, analysts say. As hundreds of passengers prepare to be evacuated from the quarantined cruise ship, one member of the testing team from Japan’s health ministry has tested positive for the disease, the ministry said.
Companies are stepping up measures to prevent the spread of the virus, SARS-CoV-2 as the number of infections in the country ticks up daily. A growing number of cases have been reported in people who have neither visited China nor have had direct contact with people arriving from the country.
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp, one of Japan’s biggest companies, said it was urging its roughly 200,000 group-wide employees to work from home or stagger their commutes. On Friday, NTT Data Corp said an external employee who works at one of its buildings was confirmed with the coronavirus. The company had ordered 14 workers who had come into close contact with this person to work at home, it said.
7 countries restrict entry from Japan to thwart new virus spread – Nationwide
Seven countries have restricted entry to Japanese nationals and those traveling from Japan in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Tuesday. The countries are Israel, Samoa, Micronesia, Kiribati, Comoros, Tuvalu, and the Solomon Islands, Motegi said at a news conference.
The virus, which originated in China and causes a disease known as COVID-19, has spread across the globe infecting more than 78,000 people. There are over 800 confirmed cases of infection in Japan, with many from a cruise ship docked in Yokohama.
Japan has asked Israel to remove the travel restrictions and briefed each country about Tokyo’s fight against the virus outbreak. Motegi asked people to check the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s website before making travel plans.