In the Oct. 20 Zeit Gist article “Foreign parents face travel curbs?,” why does professor Colin P.A. Jones write: “Japanese citizens have a constitutional right to leave their country. And foreigners? They apparently lack this right.”

“Apparently”? On what basis is that asserted? Any review or treatise on Japanese constitutional law by the dozens of reputable constitutional law professors in Japan will show that scholars overwhelmingly agree that citizens and foreign nationals have the right to leave Japan. Naturally, as in all countries, only citizens have the right to enter Japan. Foreign nationals, whether they hold permanent resident status or are tourists visiting for the first time, do not have this right, and can be refused entry at the sole discretion of the immigration authorities. The same is overwhelmingly true worldwide.

The Japan Times’ publishing of this unsubstantiated allegation is all the more disappointing because, due to the limited amount of material available in English on legal specifics of law in Japan, it seems inevitable that this article will be quoted as fact and this mistake perpetuated.

christopher gunson