Tokyo protests Beijing restricting visas for Japanese citizens

Tokyo, Jan 11 (EFE).- Tokyo on Wednesday criticized Beijing’s decision to suspend the issuance of short-term visas to Japanese citizens in response to its strengthening of border controls for visitors from the neighboring country.

Government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said it was unfortunate China has unilaterally frozen visas for reasons other than Covid prevention while he said Japan was trying to take measures to avoid affecting the flow of international travelers.

Since Jan. 8, Japan has required travelers from Chinese territory, with the exception of Hong Kong, to present a negative PCR test result before boarding and undergo a test upon arrival due to the wave of infections in the country since it dropped its zero-Covid policy. However, the granting of visas for Chinese citizens has not been affected, as has happened in other territories such as South Korea.

Tokyo has protested to Beijing through diplomatic channels and has asked Beijing to withdraw the measure, which affects visas such as those for tourists or certain commercial activities, Matsuno added.

From Argentina, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi also expressed his discomfort at the decision and said that Japan will “take appropriate measures while monitoring the situation of infection in China and how information is disclosed by the Chinese side.”

Several countries have imposed restrictions on travelers from China fearing new variants and outbreaks and under suspicion that Beijing is not sharing accurate data on the extent of its Covid wave.

In response, China announced Tuesday its decision to suspend the issuance of certain visas to at least Japanese and South Korean citizens. EFE


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