TOKYO (REUTERS) – A Tokyo hotel has apologised and removed signs saying “Japanese only” and “foreigners only” from elevators after the anti-Covid-19 precaution sparked outrage on social media ahead of the 2020 It put up the signs amid concerns influx of thousands of athletes and officials during the Games will spread Covid-19..
Coronavirus, cases of which are already rising in the Japanese capital.on Monday (July 12) amid concerns that an influx of tens of thousands of athletes and officials during the July 23-Aug 8 Games will spread the
Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu in downtown Tokyo put up the signs last Friday in response to guidance from Tokyo 2020 organisers to ensure the movements of guests related to the Games were separated from others staying at the hotel, a hotel official said on Monday.
The official, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject, said there was no intention to discriminate against foreigners.
“We tried to make it easy to understand but ended up causing misunderstanding,” the official said. He said the signs were removed on Sunday morning and the hotel was now discussing with its headquarters what expression to use instead.
The signs triggered harsh criticism on social media, with oneuser tweeting “Apartheid has been revived in Japan”.
Another likened the signs to United States “Jim Crow” measures, since struck down by the courts, designed to keep blacks from voting in the US Deep South.
“The virus has nothing to do with nationality,” tweeted Twitter user Anna.
Japan has not witnessed the explosive coronavirus outbreak seen elsewhere, but has recorded more than 815,440 cases and nearly 15,000 deaths. Tokyo alone recorded 614 new cases on Sunday, the 22nd straight day of week-on-week gains.
Japan’s vaccination roll-out got off to a slow start and although it later accelerated, supply glitches are causing it to stumble. Only about 28 per cent of the population have received at least one vaccine shot.