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Japan is only harming itself by keeping its borders shut

Embrace of neo-Sakoku is a recipe for becoming a provincial sideshow

| Japan
Passengers wait in line before moving onto their temporary housing for quarantine as they come out of an arrival gate for international flights at the Narita International Airport in December 2021: Japan has been on the harder side.   © AP

Robert Dujarric is co-director, Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies, Temple University Japan.

For two centuries during the Edo Era, Japan cut off most intercourse with the outside world. Though it was not totally secluded, the Shogunate isolated itself from foreign lands under what was retrospectively labeled sakoku (1639-1854), or closed country.

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