As reported in Japanese media this week, the JP government is currently working on a directive that gives hotels the right to reject guests for lodging when they appear to suffer from any kind of sickness.
This signals an escalation in policy on the side of the authorities as they practically enlist hotels to hunt for guests with random cold symptoms and enforce restrictions, including the denial of lodging.
Life in Japan has been going on relatively normal ever since Covid came onto the scene, but ever since the Western world and even most countries in Asia have moved on from punitive measures.
The Japanese government now appears to work on regulations to tighten the screws on the public while also maintaining strict entry regulations for over two years at this time.
As NIKKEI ASIA reports, the government is now working on instructions for hotels and other lodging facilities to “hunt” for sick guests.
Japan’s health ministry seeks to let hotels refuse to accommodate people suspected of being sick with COVID-19, hoping to shore up a still-struggling industry by giving customers and employees more peace of mind.
Plans for the policy change set out Thursday would allow for screening based on possible symptoms such as fever or cough, but only during an active outbreak. Hotels could ask a potentially infected customer to see a doctor, and deny service if they refuse without a legitimate reason.
Even guests without symptoms could be rejected for not complying with infection control measures.
Current law allows hotels to turn away customers on illness-related grounds only if it is “evident that the person seeking lodging has an infectious disease,” with clear proof such as a formal diagnosis.
The ministry plans to submit its proposed revisions to parliament this fall for implementation in 2023.
The health ministry also seeks to change the guest registers that hotels are obligated to keep, requiring customers to provide cellphone numbers or other contact information to enable a quicker response if someone is found to be sick. …
Along with the legal revisions, the ministry will draw up rules to prevent discrimination, such as unfairly refusing customers with elevated body temperatures caused by a non-infectious disease such as cancer, a concern raised by some experts.
It’s hard to say how this will look in reality once brought on the way and how diligent hotels are going to follow up. Intruding the privacy of other individuals is usually a big NO in Japan.
Other than that, the description of these measures sounds identical to what we encountered in other countries during the past two years.
It was common, for example, to have a temperature check at hotels and airports in most countries I traveled to in 2020 and 2021. Even today, shopping malls in Bangkok still upkeep this charade.
In Germany, hotels in some local jurisdictions even required guests to show a vaccination certificate or a recent covid test when I visited in August of last year.
As far as Japan is concerned I somewhat doubt this will impact the daily life of Japanese citizens and residents too much but such regulations aren’t something positive as they’re way too flexible in interpretation.
For tourists, nothing will change as the country is still closed to individual arrivals and only guided tours on a short leash are permitted:
The reported performance and numbers of these tours have been a complete disaster and disappointment.
The Japanese government is working on stricter disease prevention/detection measures that are to be enforced by hotels in the country. The media is reporting this as a confidence-building tool to encourage Japanese citizens to travel and stay at hotels again.
This doesn’t bode well for those who have hoped that Japan would reopen its borders and relax regulations anytime soon. Currently, Japan isn’t allowing any tourists into the country unless they go on North Korea-style guided tours without any freedom for travelers to go on their own. Who does voluntarily go on such tours?