“A huge loss for Okinawa’s economy”: Hong Kong residents cancel plans to move to Okinawa amid continuing Japanese entry restrictions

“A huge loss for Okinawa’s economy”: Hong Kong residents cancel plans to move to Okinawa amid continuing Japanese entry restrictions

A text exchange between a Hong Kong resident hoping to emigrate and an immigration consultant from August 2021. “The Japanese government isn’t letting us in, and we can’t wait forever. I want a normal life so that I can have a family. There’s no point in telling me about Okinawa’s merits anymore.” (Provided image)

February 3, 2022 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Wu Li Jun


As a result of the continuing government restrictions on entry into Japan to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Hong Kong residents planning to migrate to Okinawa in order to invest have had to cancel their plans. At one immigration consulting firm in Okinawa, four groups (ten people) from Hong Kong have changed their destination to the United Kingdom since the start of 2021. They have also liquidated the companies they had registered in the prefecture. A representative of the consulting firm says, “It’s a huge loss for the Okinawan economy. Hopefully they will ease the restrictions on immigration soon.”


In July 2020, the Chinese government enacted the Hong Kong national security law with the goal of strengthening Chinese control of Hong Kong. In response, the number of Hong Kong residents hoping to migrate to Okinawa increased. Most of the people migrating with the help of the Okinawan immigration consulting firm sought a new home overseas because of the national security law.


According to the firm, these individuals made the decision to leave their homeland forever. They quit their jobs and sold all of their property. They stayed in hotels in Hong Kong, paying 500,000-600,000 yen per month, while they waited to enter Japan. However, as they waited without income, there was no sign of being allowed to enter Japan. Some were in limbo in Hong Kong for over a year.


The firm representative says, “People coming from Hong Kong to invest in Okinawa would have been a boon to our economy. Some of them were planning to sell Okinawan goods overseas. It’s incredibly unfortunate.”


If the entry restrictions continue to be in place, it is possible that even more overseas investors will abandon plans to move to Okinawa. The representative adds, “If these strict restrictions continue, it will impact not only investors from overseas, but also small businesses in Okinawa. I hope that the government will ease the restrictions as soon as possible, even while they continue the quarantine policy.”


(English translation by T&CT and Ellen Huntley)


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