Concerns are spreading among Japanese nationals living abroad after Japan tightened its border controls amid fears over the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

“I was worried that all international flights would be suspended,” said a woman living in the suburbs of New Delhi, whose son, a third-year high school student, plans to return home this month to prepare for a entry to high school. exam.

“My son looked anxious as he said, ‘What will happen to the exam if I can’t go back to Japan?’ The woman said.

“The (Japanese) students preparing for the exams all over the world must have had a breathtaking experience,” she said, noting that another family she knows is also planning to return temporarily to Japan to apply for an exam.

On Monday, the government asked airlines to stop accepting new bookings for passenger flights to Japan this month. But the request was withdrawn on Thursday as criticism grew that the measure would make it difficult for Japanese nationals to return from overseas.

A 40-year-old expatriate worker in Seoul, who lives far from his family in Japan, gave up on returning home at the end of the year and canceled his flight.

“I had planned to stay in Japan for about a week and celebrate a relative’s birthday together. But that no longer makes sense, because a six-day quarantine is required (on arrival), ”he said.

“I think it’s fair to put reservations on hold until it’s confirmed whether the variant is weakening or not,” said another expatriate worker in New Delhi. “I have a bad impression of a leader who retracts quickly.”

“I have a feeling of unease about the mood to refuse even the return of Japanese nationals living abroad,” said an expatriate worker in Seoul.

Yoshihisa Yamanaka, a 58-year-old Japanese man living in Bangkok who runs his own business, said he had already booked a flight home for the New Year and New Years holidays.

“I have already made the reservation, but the people who are going to do it from now on are confused by the government’s policy which changes several times. I want the information to be released quickly, ”Yamanaka said.

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