Problems found with measures to block coronavirus at Japan airports
TOKYO — A number of problems are fueling concern about the Japanese government’s measures to ease restrictions on business travel.
On Nov. 11, tests conducted at Kansai Airport found that 17 technical intern trainees in their teens to 20s who had arrived on a direct flight from Indonesia were infected with the novel coronavirus. The 17 had obtained a negative result in pre-departure testing.
The government has asked Indonesia to investigate the case.
Foreigners entering Japan must test negative before departure, with the exception of people from certain countries and regions. However, the case of the Indonesian trainees reveals that these test results are not always reliable.
“Amidst growing concern about the spread of the virus, the credibility of the system will be harmed if similar cases occur frequently,” a senior official from the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.
The government also asks foreign visitors and Japanese returnees not to take public transportation from the airport. Entrants are supposed to secure such transportation as private chauffeur services, rental cars or family cars.
However, some do use public transportation, which is usually cheaper. Since November, Narita Airport has repeatedly played an announcement saying, “We ask you not to use trains, buses, taxis, domestic airplanes or other public transportation.” Nevertheless, people still have not stopped using public transportation.
On Nov. 28, a man exited the international arrivals gate in the lobby of Narita Airport and lugged his suitcase through a train ticket gate. A Yomiuri Shimbun reporter saw at least five people board trains over about two hours.
A government official said: “There’s no law forcing people to refrain from using public transportation. All we can do is ask.”
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