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Japan bans Filipino seafarers from entering the country

Crew changes and ship deliveries in Japan just got a whole lot more challenging with the government issuing extraordinary travel bans on Friday covering 73 nations, including the Philippines.

Filipinos make up close to three quarters of all crew on the Japanese merchant fleet, the world’s third largest shipowning nation.

The travel ban from the hosts of the next Olympic Games also extends to another big crew source, China, but not India, meaning crew managers could be making urgent calls to Indian seafarer centres this week.

Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has stressed the bans extend to seafarers and aircrew.

However, the country’s maritime bureau in Tokyo has stated it may be possible to enter the country by consulting individually with the quarantine authorities and the immigration services.

Ship deliveries will be especially problematic. Japan is the world’s third largest shipbuilder with a sizeable orderbook due to deliver this year.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe intends to declare a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak in Japan as a recent surge in infections sweeps Tokyo and other major cities. The declaration is expected on Tuesday, and will take effect Wednesday.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Misleading title Sam, it’s not helping alleviate the severity of the problem. You mentioned 73 nations banned but you singled out the Filipinos.

  2. True, with all due respect Sam, it looks like you are segregating Filipino seafarers.

  3. Fake (news) Title, Sam! I can’t believe with your sterling credentials, you have misled the header readers to conceive the notion that there’s something wrong with the Filipino seafarers. I think you can do better than that. Unless, you really intended to single out the Filipinos, then you have succeeded, Sam. Congratulations!!

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