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Japan govt to tighten immigration checks; Olympics could be canceled or postponed

12 Mar 2020
Officers work at a health screening station as they observe passengers arriving on a flight from Wuhan, China to Narita Airport, Japan, Jan. 16, 2020. (AFP)
Officers work at a health screening station as they observe passengers arriving on a flight from Wuhan, China to Narita Airport, Japan, Jan. 16, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 13 Mar 2020
12 Mar 2020

Arab News

Tokyo: In response to the World Health Organization's (WHO) declaration of a pandemic of the new coronavirus, the Japanese government has begun considering measures, including further tightening immigration restrictions, reviewing the diplomatic schedule, including international conferences.

Some government officials are beginning to doubt the feasibility hosting the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics Games.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters at the Prime Minister's Office that he "wants to work more closely with the international community than ever before." "We will decide and implement the necessary measures without hesitation," he emphasized.

The government has so far refused entry for foreigners who have stayed in the past two weeks in certain parts of China, South Korea, Iran, Italy or San Marino. It is asking visitors from China and Korea to wait for two weeks. The government plans to consider expanding the restrictions on immigration, taking into account the United States' ban on entry from Europe for 30 days.

The United Nations Criminal Justice Conference (Congress), scheduled for April 20 in Kyoto, has been postponed. Prime minister Abe will also consider whether to go ahead with his plan to visit Russia in May, and attend the G7 Summit in the United States in June.

On the other hand, there is a view that the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics may be canceled or postponed. Even if the spread of infection can be suppressed in Japan, if the convergence is not achieved in each country, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) may find it difficult to hold the event.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga emphasized at a press conference, "We will proceed with preparations as scheduled." After meeting with the Prime Minister, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told reporters, "There is no choice to cancel".

However, a government official said that it is difficult to hold the event exactly as planned.

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