German DJ Zedd showed just how unfair Japan’s travel ban really is

Zedd is a popular German DJ.

Pictured, Zedd performs in the 2019 Overwatch League Grand Finals.
Photo: Bryan Bedder / Getty Images for Blizzard Entertainment (Getty Images)

Currently, nineteen prefectures in Japan are in a state of emergency until September 30. But one of them, Chiba Prefecture, will host the Supersonic music festival at a baseball stadium this weekend. Zedd, along with Alan Walker and Steve Aoki, are among the international DJs who flown to the event.

“Finally arrived in Japan,” Zedd said in a video he posted on Twitter. “I am in Tokyo. Now I have to quarantine for three and a half days. ”

Three and a half days? This is not the normal experience for permanent residents of Japan or even Japanese citizens, regardless of their vaccination status. Every Japanese citizen and foreigner resident with a valid visa was required to quarantine for fourteen days on entering Japan. With the exception of exemptions during the Olympics, others have generally not been allowed at all. To monitor citizens and residents, it is necessary to install mobile tracking apps that have daily recordings and video calls. Foreign permanent residents must sign a written pledge promising not to violate the country’s rules regarding quarantine, as this could result in deportation.

Things look different for Zedd. In his Twitter clip, it shows where it will be in quarantine. As he walks around his huge suite, showing off fresh fruit, a Maingear gaming PC, and valiant goodies, the entire clip seems completely obtuse with the situation in Japan. I don’t regret the success of the man, and celebrities get giveaways and fancy hotels all the time – it’s part of being famous, I get it.

But what makes Zedd’s clip seem so tactless is that there are people all over the world who have stronger ties to Japan – they are employed there, they own property, they go to school or have family – and they always cannot enter the country.

Since spring 2020, Japan has a travel ban in effect. While initially even those who had a permanent residence in Japan were not allowed to leave and return to the country, this measure was changed. However, those with student and work visas who were out of the country when the ban went into effect have not been able to enter Japan since. According to Nippon.com, the number of international students being refused entry to Japan could reach 25,000. Nippon.com adds, has been called unscientific and unfair, leaving students and workers to live their lives on hold. As Nikkei Asia points out that the travel ban could have been effective at the start of the pandemic, but now, “the initial ban on long-term residents from returning home has left a bad taste in the mouths of many foreigners, and the ban tourism and business travel undermines morale.

People are pissed off! They are locked out, frustrated and angered by unfair policies – and Zedd’s tweet receives its fair share of criticism on Twitter. The travel ban has separated students from their schools, people from their families, workers from their jobs and people from their homes. The travel ban has also meant the absence of tourists, which hurt businesses. And yet, here is Zedd showing off his whimsical digs in Japan, oblivious to it all.

Zedd probably had no idea. He seems like a nice enough guy, but he is certainly poorly served by those around him. The clip seems sufficient and inappropriate, especially for those trying to return to Japan to live their lives. They can’t enter the country, but this famous guy can, and he just has to stay in his huge suite for three and a half days. All of this highlights who is really considered important.

“I’m ready for quarantine,” Zedd says at the end of the clip. It definitely is, but the people who study and work here have been ready for over a year.

Update 09/21/21 – 5:46 am: Asahi reports that Japan will no longer require passengers from 20 countries to quarantine themselves in government-designed hotels and facilities for three days when they enter Japan before quarantining themselves at home or in other accommodations. However, visitors will still need to self-isolate for 14 days. The measure has an impact on people entering from the United States, France, Israel and Thailand. Japan also lifted its total ban for Japanese citizens and those on resident visa from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Additionally, an earlier version of this article stated that only permanent residents were allowed to leave and re-enter Japan. Foreign residents with visas are allowed to leave and re-enter. The article has been updated to reflect this. Students with visas, newly hired workers and businessmen are still prohibited from entering the country.



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