COVID-19. Embassy of Pakistan in Japan announced new border security measure at Narita International Airport

In early July, the Embassy of Pakistan in Japan announced new border security measure at Narita International Airport under COVID-19 pandemic, applied to all travellers from Pakistan to Japan regardless of nationality. On May 27, 2020, the Government of Japan designated all travellers visiting Pakistan within 14 days prior to arrival in Japan to be subjected to PCR test upon arrival as well as self-quarantine for 14 days.

Since then, Pakistani workers have shown higher COVID-19 positivity rate than those from other countries. The Embassy explains that in response, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan introduced a new border security measure at Narita International Airport since June 18. According to this new measure, travellers visiting Pakistan within 14 days prior to arrival in Japan must stay at hotels designated by the Japanese quarantine authority until PCR test results become available before self-quarantine.

These travellers, including thousands of Pakistani workers in Japan, cannot move from the airport to their place of self-quarantine directly and need to design their travel plan in accordance with the new mentioned restrictions.

In December 2019, the Government of Japan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with Pakistan regarding the “Specified Skilled Workers” which aims to pave the way for skilled Pakistani workers to get employment opportunities in Japan under this cooperation framework after passing an examination. Pakistan is among the top ten countries where Japan is looking to hire skilled human resource. The Government of Japan has already signed a similar agreement with 10 countries including Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Government of Japan has created a new “Status of Residence” for specific skilled workers that became effective on April 1, 2019. The new coronavirus health emergency, prevented all foreign skilled workers entering Japan for employment, even those would have to pass the skill’s examination and the Japanese basic language test before signing the employment contract with the accepting organisation.

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Vanessa Tomassini

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