Government AffairsSeoul, Tokyo at loggerheads over Covid-19 containment measures

Japan, South Korea clash over quarantine

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Japan has raised the red flag on visitors from South Korea.
Japan has raised the red flag on visitors from South Korea. Photo Credit: Igor Vershinsky/iStock / Getty Images Plus

SEOUL – The challenges of managing a diplomatic response to the Covid-19 outbreak have been highlighted by a spat between Japan and South Korea.

South Korea has protested Japan's decision to quarantine South Korean visitors for two weeks and has threatened to retaliate.

Almost 100 countries have imposed restrictions on South Korean travellers, barring arrivals from highly affected areas.

South Korea said on Friday it would consider countermeasures to Japan's "unjust, unacceptable" travel restrictions barring visitors from areas which have been hard hit by the coronavirus epidemic.

"It is unacceptable that the Japanese government took such an unjust action without prior consultations with us, and we will explore necessary countermeasures based on principles of reciprocity," the presidential National Security Council said in a statement.

South Korea has  the biggest outbreak of the coronavirus outside China.

Meanwhile, Japan  has indicated the Tokyo Olympics could be postponed until the end of 2020.

Olympics minister Seiko Hashimoto told the Japanese parliament, “The contract calls for the Games to be held within 2020. That could be interpreted as allowing a postponement.

“(But) we are doing all we can to ensure that the Games go ahead as planned [July 24-August 9].”

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