Summary title: Petition No 0606/2021 by G.L. (Italian) on the situation of EU nationals seeking to study and work in Japan following the entry ban during the COVID-19 pandemic
Petition number: 0606/2021
Topics: Employment, Fundamental Rights, Research and Innovation, External Relations, Education
Country: European Union
Name: G. L.
The petitioner indicates that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japanese Government barred EU students and workers accepted by its universities and companies from entering the country. The ban, which was introduced last year and has never been lifted (except for a few months in the autumn of 2020), has dramatically affected thousands of EU citizens unable to study or work, whose lives have been on hold for months. She accuses the European Union of ignoring their plight and of failing to uphold their rights to work and study or to provide them with any insurance for the future. She adds that lack of reciprocity between the EU and Japan has proved detrimental to EU students, researchers and workers unable to enter Japan, thus placing them at an increasing disadvantage in professional and educational terms compared to their Japanese counterparts who have been allowed into Europe. The petitioner is therefore seeking measures to end this inequality, calling on the EU institutions to uphold the rights of European workers and students, correct this one-sided relationship and restore advantageous conditions for international travel between the two parties. She believes that the current situation is also problematic in political terms, given that the current relationship between the EU and Japan appears to be setting a precedent, allowing a country to breach bilateral agreements at any time and for an indeterminate period without any fear of sanctions or comeback from the EU.