Japan Adds 14 More Countries to Entry Ban List

Japan Adds 14 More Countries to Entry Ban List
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wears a mask as he arrives for a press conference at the prime minister's official residence, during the CCP virus outbreak, in Tokyo on April 7, 2020. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool via Reuters)

TOKYO—Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that his country is adding 14 more countries, including Russia, Peru, and Saudi Arabia, to the entry ban list as the country steps up border control as the CCP virus infections continued to spread in the country.

Japan has already banned entry from more than 70 other countries, banning foreigners with records of visiting those countries in the past two weeks, while invalidating visas for the rest of the world. The additional step on the 14 countries will take effect Wednesday, Abe said.

The entry ban and the visa restrictions, initially set to end on April 30, are extended until the end of May.

Japan is now under a month-long state of emergency through May 6, for now. Officials and experts are now gauging its effect and whether to extend the measure.

Japan has 13,385 confirmed cases, as well as 712 others from a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo earlier this year, with 364 deaths, according to the health ministry.

Banks Still Busy Despite Emergency

Japanese retail customers’ love affair with cash—and some extra free time while working at home—is keeping bank branches busy despite government calls for people to reduce contacts during the state of emergency to contain the CCP virus outbreak.

While many downtown areas have seen sharp declines in people traffic, the banking arms of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc said total visitor numbers in April declined by just 10 percent and 15 percent respectively.

In some residential areas, branches have even seen an uptick. MUFG figures include ATMs, while SMFG numbers do not.

A Japanese preference for cash, especially among its large ranks of elderly, appears to be one reason for the busy banks.

“Elderly people prefer cash. It’s safer,” said Hitoko Taki, 79, who visited an MUFG branch to withdraw her pension. “I’m not very keen on ‘cashless’ whatever.”

Japanese firms have expanded telework since the virus outbreak. About 40 percent of 1,158 employees surveyed by the NTT Data Institute of Management Consulting in April said their companies had introduced remote working, up from 18 percent in January.

Reuters and Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.

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