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News Japan eases reentry ban, might lose foreign talent


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Yesterday, Japan opened its borders to those foreign residents who had left the country before the travel bans were imposed on 3 April. About 200,000 residents are stranded abroad, many of which are now contemplating whether it is worth returning. Japan might lose a lot of foreign talent.

Foreign governments have been pressuring Japan, the only G7 country to block permanent residents from reentering, for reciprocity for their citizens. Meanwhile, foreign residents who have remained on Japanese shores have faced the constant fear of an emergency that would require them to leave, with no guarantee of being able to come back. Technically, Japanese citizens have been able to leave and reenter throughout the crisis, even when the country was under a state of emergency in April and May. "I'm not sure we've received any explanation for why a foreign resident is a greater risk than a Japanese national entering Japan," said Christopher LaFleur, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. The stranding of foreign executives, educators, engineers, and labourers has affected businesses and universities. It has also overshadowed Japan's attempts to court foreign talent leaving hostile political situations in the U.S., Europe and Hong Kong, in an effort to remake Tokyo into Asia's international hub. Nikkei reported earlier this week that the entry ban figured into The New York Times' decision to relocate its Asia print hub to Seoul over Tokyo.

Foreign "talent" might be an exaggeration.

There are many on what I'd call "slave" visas as unskilled workers. It'd be nice to have visa breakdowns of professionals (with degrees), unskilled, and student.
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