The May 19 article “Foreign residents stranded abroad by Japan's coronavirus controls” describes this unfortunate situation quite well.
Though it is more than understandable that Japan tries to find ways to protect its country and people against COVID-19, it has put strenuous restrictions into place. German companies have been enjoying highly successful business relations with Japanese partners for many years. In times of growing trade frictions, German headquarters have gradually realigned their strategy towards Asia with the result that Japan has come into focus even more.
The current largely one-sided and not reciprocal entry ban harms bilateral business relations significantly, in particular if those with long-term residency permits cannot even make essential business trips. Japan sees itself as a preferred partner of German companies, however mutual trust and appreciation are key elements of such a partnership. Consequently, the value partnership should be the base for a balanced and reciprocal approach to this problem in order to preserve the excellent business relations between both our countries.
In my view, the way we interact during the current crisis is also important for resuming and intensifying our relations in post-coronavirus times.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.