politics

Cabinet OKs bills to penalize people who do not comply with antivirus measures

70 Comments
By Kazuhiro NOGI

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

70 Comments
Login to comment

and who will enforce this?

21 ( +23 / -2 )

They want to attack everyone except large corporations? They refuse to pass a bill or enforce companies letting employees work from home or work less, but they want to go after people during their free time after they put in numerous hours of overtime that still has them violating quarantine at work. This makes no sense.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Japanese are generally conformist and follow government guidance, so I don't know if there are massive some breaches.

However, any legislation should be strictly time-limited so that the government does not abuse this legislation in the future to close close businesses that the local government doesn't like.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

it seems to me the problem is that people cannot be hospitalized because there is no more room..not the fact that they refuse to hospitalized.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

So the state now has control over our bodies.. Knew this day would come. 

The state has always had control over your body. Try buying alcohol or tobacco underage, smoking in a restaurant or driving without a seatbelt, in Japan or wherever it is you claim to be leaving to.

These are laws that exist in almost every country, to protect your body and the bodies of others.

11 ( +23 / -12 )

The new laws would allow authorities to punish and even imprison people for up to a year if they test positive but refuse hospitalization.

So, they are saying that I can go to prison if I test positive but refuse hospitalization? What happens when/if I test positive and I am DENIED hospitalization? Who from the hospital is going to go to prison for denying me?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I have a friend who thinks she may have Covid-19 and after nearly a week she has yet to even find a place that will agree to test her. She's been chased out of clinics where she said she was looking for a test, hung up on (but still charged or the call as a "consultation"), and at BEST told politely to call somewhere else. I guess in terms of being punished the only good thing here is it can't be confirmed if she has it.

I'm all for fines and imprisonment, but it sounds like once again they are they are going after all the wrong people for the stupidest reasons, like when they arrest and charge an old man for getting a 200 yen coffee when he paid for three, but letting CEOs who commit millions of dollars in fraud and theft off the hook. If they want to charge people for not socially distancing, for example, will they fine and jail railway execs for packing the trains, and the companies/BOEs for forcing them to go to work/school? Nope. Will they ACTUALLY fine medical officials for rejecting patients instead of the patients for being rejected? Nope.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

This is crazy. Why someone would have to be hospitalized if they have no to little symptoms? Being positive does not mean being sick. For a lot of people, being forced to be hospitalized may put them in a difficult situation with their job and employer since they can't work even if they are fine. 

The most absurd comment that I’ve read recently! This is precisely why we are having trouble eliminating corona virus in Japan. Positive test means that you are infected and will transmit this to others! Being positive doesn’t necessarily mean for you to focus on your own health only! You may be fine to work but the moment you go to the office or any public place, you as an infected person are infecting others. They might get seriously ill and even die! Don’t be so selfish and inconsiderate of the people around you!

This topic ( law by the Government ) as a whole is a tough one. On one side we have authorization being put in force like China ( arguably) and North Korea. While on the other side it seems acceptable enough as positive people are infectious and spread the virus to others even if they themselves show no symptoms. If I’m positive and spread it to someone who dies then I’ll never be able to live with myself! But this is just the way I was brought up. As seen from the comment that I’ve highlighted, some people are just selfish and inconsiderate that they still want to go to work and spread the virus to others!

This is a bitter pill to swallow but the Japanese Government can always say: People especially foreigners who don’t like the laws implemented by the Japanese Government are free to leave Japan!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Life without a mask can continue.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

And what are the antivirus measures and rules?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Asymptomatic patients should be isolating at home, even those with mild symptoms should stay at home. It will be impossible to hospitalise everyone with a positive test

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Talked to my local bar owner about this. The 60,000yen is not enough to cover the rent and expenses yet if they stay open they will face 'bullying' as she put it. How about the government look at the previous few years average incomes and compensate accordingly.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I think we also need to go back to the start, firstly Japan need to have testing facilities all over large cities and in every town, so if some one feels ill or has the covid symptoms they can get tested immediately, when i say imediatly that meens not jumping through 2-3-4 or more phone calls with differant doctors or who ever, just to get an appointment. then they can get the test results back quickly, then if they are infected, it should be made compulsory to self isolate for 10-12 days. and any company urging there infected staff member back to work should be made illegal and a hefty fine do discourage them. this should start to bring down infection rates, if infected people have not been tested, they will be walking around spreading this virus to other people and so it will carry on.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

"....partly because private hospitals can refuse to accept coronavirus patients."

Now that's quite something. I remember in other countries doctors make that "Hippocratic oath" to help people all the time, in any situation. Guess Japanese doctors don't know that? Too bad!!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

This law passes, You can only imagine what will be next.

Precisely, you can only imagine.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@Antiquesaving

Which must be one of the reason some people refuse hospitalization as they can cought up the cost of hospitalization/hotelization neither the one of getting a lawyer to go to court even with the prospect to getting it back sometimes later.

As pointed before by other, now these people will just be clearly reluctant to get tested. Considering people financially weaker tend to have job less forgiving for absenteeism that can create an explosive situation.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@JJ Jetplane.

Good post!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The new laws would allow authorities to punish and even imprison people for up to a year if they test positive but refuse hospitalization.

I don't think thats been a problem. If people are dying, I'm pretty sure they'd go anywhere that will take them. Sure, some elderly might prefer to die at home, but they aren't worried about a prison sentence. The problem is just getting tested, period. All this talk about new laws and fines. Just make testing easier and more accessible. Period.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It will not be needed for long.

As fast as businesses are closing permanently there won't be to many left to break the rules.

Just recently a very old very famous restaurant in one of the top hotels announced it was closing for good due to the effects of the virus on its business.

In my neighbourhood there are whole blocks of vacant stores bars and restaurants some having been in business for decades.

My own business is near dead and after months and months of bureaucratic nightmare and more and more request for papers, contracts, multiple IDs, etc...I am still waiting for the 1 million yen promised last year to help affected businesses. And I know several small business owners that are in the same position and most have now closed having never gotten the promised aid.

Nice and good to have mask mandate, closing bars, etc... I am fine with it but someone needs to come up with a plan so these businesses can survive and the workers get paid.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Forcing healthy people into "hospitalization" is basically imprisonment without a crime.

It isn't. It's called "quarantine".

What if it's a false positive?

Bummer.

How long is "hospitalization"?

Two weeks is the typical guideline. This pandemic has been going for a year, how do you not know this?

And which hospital? Alcatraz Hospital? Guantanomo Hospital?

Do you think the Japanese government has the ability to quarantine people in non-existant hospitals?

Government is giving itself extreme dictatorial powers over our bodies.

It isn't.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

@Flute

A lawyer on the news stated that if one is ordered by law to be hospitalised then the government is on the hook for all cost based on past situations if they do not then suing will be the next step and again based of previous situations the courts found the government responsible for all cost.

Now the problem is national healthcare is run by city municipal government and they may refuse to pay 100% so the 30% and other cost may have to be gotten by going to court seeing the national government hasn't made clear how or who pays.

Welcome to another half measure by the J Gov.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hae?

On one said they say Hospitals are overhelmed, and now on the other side they want to force the people to go to hospital?

This doesnt match together.

In my opinion, they should fine people who are refusing to wear masks.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

So the state now has control over our bodies.. Knew this day would come. We no longer have bodily autonomy.. How can anyone not see how terrrible this is? We are losing more and more of our human rights every day...

Part of living in a society is agreeing that there are certain things you cannot do with your body that puts you or others in the way of harm, or drastically rises the chance of putting yourself or others in the way of harm.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

oh give me a break. No jobs, pathetic salaries, and most Japanese companies don't even believe in remote work. Now they want us to stay at home. What should i eat? tree leaves? Just take me to jail.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The new laws would allow authorities to punish and even imprison people for up to a year if they test positive but refuse hospitalization.

What is the problem with people refusing hospitalization ? Refusing isolation, I get it, but not hospitalization. Did they even bother asking people not wanting to be hospitalized why they did not want to ? If someone can not afford the cost financial, emotional, ... of being hospitalized or put in a hotel but is willing to comply with isolation as long as it is at home, they should just be fine with it.

They can just equip them with some home arrest device if they do not want to trust them, thought being in hospital/hotel did not stop some patient to go out (potentially because of loss of thinking ability related to the virus).

If not living alone, have the whole family be put on quarantine. They should already be as close contact and if someone in the house is at risk, they will probably have the whole housing backing the go to hospital/hotel.

Is it because if the management of these people at home fail, it is harder to put the responsibility on hospital staff be them in hospital or hotel ?

At least, I hope they are going to cover 100% of the cost of hospitalization/hotelization not go for there is 30% on you or whatever amount as special setting are involved.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

**smithinjapan : **I'm all for fines and imprisonment

Yikes! One of the beauties of Japan is that the people actually have more freedom than in countries like UK, Canada or Australia.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Always to late,to slow and to little.

After months of confusions where on one side they urged us “they are fetish about this word” and then promote the GoTo spread now after almost a year they’re starting to do what most western countries are doing from months.

And please spare me the articles that Japan was capable to keep the infected low because we all know the reason.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well, so much for the "constitutionality" argument against lock downs. It was always false, but not it is demonstrably false.

As for all the arm-chair freedom fighters and legal eagles above, you clearly haven‘t bothered to read the bill, nor have any working knowledge of legislative interpretation. Settle down.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The new laws would allow authorities to punish and even imprison people for up to a year if they test positive but refuse hospitalization.

Some one I know tested positive a week ago tomorrow was merely told to go and stay home for a week.

So how is this supposed to work.

This whole thing is a sham, that is short for SHAMBLES in case you have no idea.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

oh give me a break. No jobs, pathetic salaries, and most Japanese companies don't even believe in remote work. Now they want us to stay at home. What should i eat? tree leaves? Just take me to jail.

A jail in Japan is probably the safest place to be right now, sinse the Japabneseehal system just loves keeping people in solitary confinement.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This whole thing is a sham, that is short for SHAMBLES in case you have no idea.

That is incorrect.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Slippery slope into medical tyrrany. This passes I'll be making plans to move my family out of the new china.

This law passes, You can only imagine what will be next.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

The new laws would allow authorities to punish and even imprison people for up to a year if they test positive but refuse hospitalization

Wow, they just can't do anything right can they!? Not only would this require many people to be hospitalized that don't need be, it further incentivizes the government to reduce testing to avoid filling up hospitals AND incentivizes people not to get tested (even if symptomatic).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Asymptomatic people should be required to isolate at home. If that's not possible they should be provided a place where they can isolate (e.g. hotel). If caught breaking these rules, then punish them!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan is still mild. Masks are not mandatory. I saw a video of a guy in China refusing to wear a mask, the police came and put a big bag over his head, carried him away and probably he was never seen again!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

How about people just get the flu like they have for eons?

This isn't the flu. I hope this helps. Additionally, people should be given medical care for the flu, not abandoned to "it's your time to go", because that could apply to any injury or illness. Unless perhaps you are advocating for the abolition of all healthcare?

Forcing businesses to shut down is just plain evil. Go to hell government.

How do you feel about restaurant health inspectors?

2 ( +10 / -8 )

As already discussed above, a compulsory hospitalisation law would take half effect. Currently beds/equipment are short of demands (due more to ill-distribution and overregulation than to substantial numbers) forcing many to wait for admission. Reforms are also needed on hospital side.

It's also significant to clarify whether and how to manage (penalize?) some dissenting people who test negative are requested self-quarantine (but quite often subject to breach). They can be responsible for the spread, as we observe cases of negative people turning out to test positive.

The new law should be implemented temporarily under SOE framwork.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ROFL imprisonment??? wait a sec?? So any company who has the ability to make you work from home can force you to come to office is asking you to get sick but if for those companies who can afford laptops and VPN connection then your screwed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Typical new laws in Japan are enforced for the first month with police standing on every corner. After that and police have gotten their quota, nobody cares.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Enforcement is always an issue. Like Google and their threat to Australian media.

Let's count the similarities.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The draft laws would allow local governments to name and shame medical facilities that flout requests to admit COVID-19 patients

You know where I will be going for non Covid related issues

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One wonders, is the impress to contain the virus wedded to the very peculiar design & ludicrous intent to hold the Olympics?

That is a possibility. But remember that Tokyo could want to cancel but it cannot because unilateral cancellation means playing the IOC millions of dollars in penalties.

This is why the IOC has to date refused to cancel.

If the IOC cancels then Japan is off the hook for those millions in penalties.

So I. Has to wonder does Japan really still want to host at this point or is it just hoping to out last the IOC in order not to have to pay those penalties.

The IOC is a corrupt greedy organisation and said last year it would not wave the penalties if Tokyo cancelled.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Asymptomatic patients should be isolating at home, even those with mild symptoms should stay at home. It will be impossible to hospitalise everyone with a positive test

Nice to read something sensible. The rightwing have got themselves into their usual tizzy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Covid 19 virus is causing indisputable misery and damage to people’s lives and livelihoods around the world, and we should not forget the root of this problem - China!

Look around! Don’t you think it strange that the Chinese with such an enormous population are not succumbing to large losses on scale as other large economies? How is that? Could this be an orchestrated scheme to elevate its position to a supreme superpower by damaging the worlds economies? Has China suffered as much?

We need to scrutinize China further!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"One of the beauties of Japan is that the people actually have more freedom than in countries like UK, Canada or Australia." Bollocks. Ask any Japanese national about how free they are. Your perception is an illusion based on your ability as a foreigner to pick and choose which social norms you will abide by, largely without sanction. What you are doing is essentially asserting your white privilege.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When a rational or soft approach would be better, Japan choses the strong approach. When strong approach was better, Japan goes the way of soft approach.

Japan had the advantage that it could see what was happening in Europe, China, etc. When the situation in Italy, UK or Czech was happening, Japan had time to prepare and what's more important - act. Instead, one year later, in 2021, "Japan approved draft laws". No lock downs, just travel supporting campaigns, stupid decisions like opening schools, requests.

Now it's just too late for only that and only slowing or delaying down the unavoidable. But yeah, it'll win the voters.

The government should start testing way more than up until now, not hire private companies for that but do it on national level. Close karaoke rooms, pachinko (oh, the heresy!!), regulate number of people in eateries like Yoshinoya which are crowded during the lunch time like there was no virus anywhere, support remote work and then penalize.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nothing in the law about foreigners forced deportation in case of non respect of quarantine

Think again, under the law once a foreign is charge with a crime any crime their visa is suspended, if convicted it is revoked and they are deported.

So no need to say it as it has been the law for decades.

And yes as far as I can figure it refusing is now a crime.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The so-called, Third Wave. How did it originate? Ah, GoToTravel. Imagine if in Italy, the UK, China or the USA, in the midst of the pandemic, they encouraged domestic tourism and subsidized travel to locales distant from home. Does Suga or his ministers take responsibility? (That is rhetorical) No. Instead they intend draconian measures increasing the power of the state infringing-on or outright violating Civil Rights.

One wonders, is the impress to contain the virus wedded to the very peculiar design & ludicrous intent to hold the Olympics?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well, so much for the "constitutionality" argument against lock downs. It was always false, but not it is demonstrably false.

Please point out where there is a lockdown in Japan?

You are confusing many things

They are not locking anyone down or in.

The government can mandate closing times, that does not affect anyone's rights as it is a business.

As for forcing people into hospital that again falls under protecting other from harm

Figure it out very different things.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is it sure that you must go to a hospital when you have only mild symptoms? Maybe the information above is not very precise. Currently you can choose to isolate at home and I think that will not change. Same as in Germany, the authorities will check from time to time if you are at home. If not, you will be punished. Hospitalizing thousands of people is impossible.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fair enough, if yer willingly go out knowing yerve got da rona then expect another hit.

Simple, no debate necessary.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Finally the government decided to rely on the effect of national law. This might have a positive effect to some extent. However, this decision is a bit disappointing for me as a result of an effort as a national government. Instead of setting what goes against the law, telling what we should do is more important, I think. I heard "refrain from eating out, going out, and staying home" countless times everywhere. Nevertheless, I have not heard what to do to realize these slogan. The government and prefectural governor should have showed the specific and feasible measures which can be applied to the citizens.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, so much for the "constitutionality" argument against lock downs. It was always false, but not it is demonstrably false.

Please point out where there is a lockdown in Japan?

You are confusing many things

They are not locking anyone down or in.

The government can mandate closing times, that does not affect anyone's rights as it is a business.

As for forcing people into hospital that again falls under protecting other from harm

Figure it out very different things.

It is painfully obvious from your use of language that you haven't read the constitution, nor have any legal training, so this will probably go over your head.

There hasn't been a lockdown in Japan, a decision which has often been described as based on constitutionality, primarily under article 13, which guarantees ****life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As I have commented before, the constitution limits individual rights with the phrase to the extent that it does not interfere with the public welfare. As you may call it protecting others from harm. The same constitution vest sole power to legislate and provide for public welfare with the elected government.

The same logic follows for allowing lockdowns as for forcing hospitalisations. Both can be predicated on protecting the public welfare, and in fact as the number of infected increase, a lockdown arguable has a lesser impact on individual rights (albeit to a wider group of individuals).

I expect you will reply. I wont, because you don‘t really know what you are talking about. I actually support a lockdown. However, if we are not doing it, I would prefer it is not predicated on spurious arguments.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Looks like it's about time to leave Japan sadly...

if wearing a mask until this pandemic is over gets you so triggered then its probably best you do leave,

no place for hurt feelings over actual scientific facts in a society

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And frankly the measure could be even counterproductive. I can see that the government decided that in order to impose an indirect lockdown since people would then be scared to get infected in front of such oppressive legislation and reduce a lot their activities.

But on the other hand, people with little or mild symptoms will be scared to get tested now. And I don't think that scaring people to get tested is the right thing to do.

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

Are you also opposed to drink-driving?

It's the driving part (using an automobile) that is against the law.

But it's still our right to drink if we want.

Forcing healthy people into "hospitalization" is basically imprisonment without a crime.

What if it's a false positive?

How long is "hospitalization"?

And which hospital? Alcatraz Hospital? Guantanomo Hospital?

Government is giving itself extreme dictatorial powers over our bodies.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Now that's quite something. I remember in other countries doctors make that "Hippocratic oath" to help people all the time, in any situation. Guess Japanese doctors don't know that? Too bad!!

Maybe it got lost in translation and they thought it was the Hypocritical Oath?

Seriously though, Japan got its modern medicine from Germany, maybe the same ethical standards don't apply in Germany.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Forcing businesses to shut down is just plain evil. Go to hell government.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Nothing in the law about foreigners forced deportation in case of non respect of quarantine

At least, that’s a good point.

Wait and see. Once more, it looks like Nishimura was only trying to appeal the public with his words

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

To the drama queens.

It is clear penalties for those that do not comply with measures.

It does not day everyone will have to be hospitalised, etc...

It means follow what you are told if you have the virus.

If that means going to the hospital and remaining there, then that what you need to do, if it is self Quarantine at home then that is what you do.

So quit with the drama queen and Greek tragedy.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

So many cry babies here. I see posts how national leaders are worthless because they don't take effective enough measures to slow the virus, but when they do, I see nothing but whiny babies. Oh, no, your affecting my personal life., boo hoo. I'm pretty sure national leaders don't look at your individuals rights when they need to make sure the country as a whole survives. I personally hate wearing a mask, but guess what, I do it anyway. Not just to keep myself safer but also to ensure I don't inadvertently pass anything to someone else. Don't be so damn selfish. The are other countries besides Japan that are implementing similar measures.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The new laws would allow authorities to punish and even imprison people for up to a year if they test positive but refuse hospitalization.

This is crazy. Why someone would have to be hospitalized if they have no to little symptoms? Being positive does not mean being sick. For a lot of people, being forced to be hospitalized may put them in a difficult situation with their job and employer since they can't work even if they are fine. This is again another example of a sanitary dictatorship being forced on people and how the world has gone completely crazy.

-2 ( +19 / -21 )

There is a reason for planning stricter rules, fines, imprisonments and the like. Now guess, what that could be. Personally I would think, officially expected sinking numbers or trust in success of vaccinations and all the other current measures can be excluded.... In shorter words, they already know more than we are told and sedated.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Very good move.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It’s stunning how governments are abusing human rights and the stupid masses simply say, Please Sir I want some more.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Go home and quarantine and no money comes in the door...no food means a couple of kgs off the midsection-win win, right?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@daito_hak exactly!!! Thank you!

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

How about people just get the flu like they have for eons? If you die due to getting the flu, IT'S YOUR TIME TO GO. Stop this baby-proofing of the planet. Sorry for telling you that you don't need to wear a football helmet to tie your shoes. The sooner covid-19 passes through everyone's immune system, the sooner this will be all over. We are just prolonging the flu season. Oh, do you even remember that there are FLU SEASONS? BTW, look into the German-French movie "The Hamburg Syndrome." Wikipedia has deleted the plot of the movie, because we are living through it right now.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

and who will enforce this?

I will.

-19 ( +11 / -30 )

Looks like it's about time to leave Japan sadly...

So the state now has control over our bodies.. Knew this day would come. We no longer have bodily autonomy.. How can anyone not see how terrrible this is? We are losing more and more of our human rights every day...

-23 ( +17 / -40 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites