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Japan's COVID test bureaucracy leaves returning citizens stranded

Stringent formats for proof of negative tests create extra burden

Passengers of a chartered ANA flight from Indonesia disembark at Narita Airport near Tokyo.   © Kyodo

ISTANBUL/JAKARTA -- "You cannot board the plane with this certificate," the airline personnel told her. A Japanese woman who got married in Turkey was stunned to learn at a regional airport that she could not take a flight back to Japan. 

Her problem was proof of a negative test result for COVID-19 that did not match Japan's specifications. And she was just one of many Japanese citizens who were turned away at airports because they failed to present the specific form required by Japan's health ministry. 

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