Today: Thursday, 6 October 2022 year

Travellers to Japan are using public transit: that’s a problem

Travellers to Japan are using public transit: that’s a problem

Japan faced the real problem amid the coronacrisis due to unsafe transportation rules. All travellers used to use public transportation from airports, and such an old-fashioned approach is turning into a vulnerability in the country’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Despite the pandemic, Japan expects a surge in new arrivals from abroad toward the end of the year. In addition, the upcoming Olympics requires the optimal transportation scheme, taking into account the novel virus.

The current border control rules demand all travellers from abroad not to use public transportation for the entirety of their two-week quarantine period. However, the recent reports show that some of them have been spotted. Travellers just ignore this rule when leaving airports, relying on trains and buses instead to get back home or visit nearby hotels for the two-week quarantine.

This particularly bodes ill for Japan as it braces for the year-end holiday season, which will likely mark the mass return of Japanese nationals who wish to celebrate the arrival of the new year with their families and friends back home.

To avoid such behaviour, Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture has started broadcasting an announcement in four different languages — Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean — earlier this month. Airport urges arrivals from overseas to steer clear of public transportation.

Reasons for travellers’ noncompliance vary, but the lack of penalties and strict surveillance by officials is considered one possible factor. In addition, the taxi cost has rocketed this year.

Even a trip back home to the Greater Tokyo Area — particularly prefectures such as Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma — does not come cheap, with the price climbing to as high as ¥70,000.

The risk will grow more serious not only toward the end of the year but toward the OG as well, with the government no doubt determined to further lure foreign nationals.

Should the government simply try to attract more foreign visitors without putting in place sufficient countermeasures against the use of public transportation at the same time, problems are bound to occur.