Right now, nineteen prefectures in Japan are under a state of emergency until September 30. But one of them, Chiba Prefecture, will host the Supersonic music festival at a baseball stadium this weekend. Zedd, along with Alan Walker and Steve Aoki, are among the international DJs flown in for the event.
“Finally made it to Japan,” Zedd said in a video he posted to Twitter. “I’m in Tokyo. Now I have to quarantine for three and a half days.”
Three and a half days? This is not the normal experience for permanent residents of Japan or even Japanese citizens, regardless of vaccination status. As of writing, every Japanese citizen and permanent resident must quarantine for fourteen days when entering Japan. Save for exemptions during the Olympics, others have generally not been allowed in. To monitor citizens and residents, it’s required the installation of tracking mobile apps that have daily check-in’s and video calls. Foreign permanent residents must sign a written pledge promising not to violate the country’s rules regarding quarantining, because doing so could result in deportation.
Things sure seem different for Zedd. In his Twitter clip, he shows off where he’ll be quarantining. As he walks through his enormous suite, showing the fresh fruit, a gaming PC from Maingear, and Valorant goodies, the whole clip seems completely obtuse to the situation in Japan. I don’t begrudge the man’s success, and celebrities get freebies and swish hotels all the time. That’s part of being famous, I get that. That’s fine.
But what makes Zedd’s clip seem so tactless is that there are people all over the world who have stronger connections to Japan—they’re employed there, they own property, they attend school, or they have family—and still cannot enter the country.
Since spring 2020, Japan has had a travel ban in effect. While initially, even those with permanent Japanese residency were not allowed to leave and return to the country, this measure has been changed. However, those with student and work visas who were out of the country when the ban went into effect have been unable to enter Japan ever since. As Nikkei Asia points out, the travel ban might have been effective in the early days of the pandemic, but now “the initial ban on long-term residents returning home has left a bad taste in many foreigners’ mouths, and the ban on tourism and business travel is sapping morale.”
People are pissed! They’re locked out, frustrated, and angry by an unfair policy—and Zedd’s tweet is getting its fair share of criticism on Twitter. The travel ban has separated students from their schools, people from their loved ones, workers from their jobs, and folks from their homes. The travel ban has also meant no tourists, which has hurt businesses. And yet, here is Zedd showing off his fancy digs in Japan, oblivious to this all.
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Zedd probably had no idea of this. He seems like a nice enough guy, I assume, but he certainly is being ill served by those surrounding him. The clip comes off as smug and ill-timed, especially to those trying to return to Japan to live their lives. They cannot get into the country, but this famous guy can, and he only needs to stay in his huge suite for three days and a half days. All this brings into sharp focus who really is seen as important.
“I’m ready for the quarantine,” says Zedd at the end of the clip. No doubt he is, but people who actually study and work here have been years for over a year. Get in line, Zedd.