Kumar has been stranded in Bangalore since March, however, awaiting permission from Japanese authorities to return home to Tokyo. He says he now seems to understand what being “treated like a foreigner” can really mean.
“I didn’t even have health insurance in India,” he says via a WhatsApp call, adding that he has since had to buy insurance there. “My entire life is in Japan and it is treating me and many like me, who pay taxes and social insurance, like average tourists. That is very depressing.”
Kumar is one of thousands of Indian residents of Japan who are still stuck in their homeland due to an entry ban on foreign arrivals, which was first introduced in April to protect the country from the COVID-19.