As everyone in Japan is still a bundle of nerves because of the coronavirus situation, especially with hundreds of infections being reported in Tokyo every day, it is heart-breaking to see that a lot of well-known shops and restaurants have gone out of business, partly because of the lack of tourists.

Sadly, even if the government is going to ease the travel ban on regions where most of Japan’s tourists come from, the governments in those areas may have imposed restrictions or special requirements on the re-entry of their citizens, making it unappealing for their people to travel overseas.

Moreover, a lot of tourist activities bear a high risk of community outbreak. Watching traditional performances in an indoor theater, dining in a houseboat and going to amusement parks are just a few examples.

With the coming of tourists, shops and restaurants are likely to put in more money to deal with the increased demand. Yet, if a community outbreak occurs again exactly because of these eased measures, the ban may have to be put back in place, resulting in these businesses losing even more money.

What is also worrying is that a tourist tested negative in where they come from may well be infected when traveling from here to there and may even bring the virus back to their home countries, leading to another public health disaster.

It is a hard time. But the Japanese government needs to think twice before easing the travel ban at this stage when the local and global coronavirus situation remains severe.

Businesses are suffering. But is easing the travel ban good?

Anson Chan
Hong Kong

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.

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