Chinese travel issue prompts concerns in Japan

A surge in the number of coronavirus cases in China means people traveling from the country to Japan now face tighter controls when they arrive. Chinese authorities reacted by suspending their issue of visas to Japanese citizens. For many in Japan, the new reality is sinking in.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said, "It's extremely regrettable that China has unilaterally restricted its issue of visas in a way that appears to have nothing to do with tackling the coronavirus."

Travelers from mainland China must take a COVID test when they arrive in Japan. They must also test negative before they leave China. But Japan is not limiting visas for Chinese citizens.

Before Japan tightened its controls, more than 8 percent of the people arriving from mainland China tested positive in the space of a week.

On Thursday, Japan also began imposing stricter measures on people arriving from Macao.

In an interview with NHK, one traveler expressed understanding and respect for Japan's policy, but was optimistic tourism overall would become open so everyone could travel again, as before.

About 100,000 Japanese are in China for stays of at least three months. They include businesspeople, their families and students. Japanese companies and schools are concerned they may not be able to send more staff or students.

Japan is demanding China start issuing visas again.
But there are no signs of a change in policy.