Hotel Slammed For Sign Banning ‘Foreign Customers’ From Using Elevator
A Japanese hotel has been accused of ‘segregating’ foreign visitors after placing a ‘Japanese only’ sign in one of its elevators.
The Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu in central Tokyo was forced to remove the signs, which designated separate elevators for ‘Japanese’ and ‘foreign’ guests, after an online backlash.
The hotel reportedly introduced the measure in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
In a statement reported by The Japan Times, the Akasaka Excel said it ‘had no intention to discriminate’ against foreign guests, and clarified the signs had been put in place in an attempt to prevent guests staying as part of foreign Olympic and Paralympic teams from interacting with ‘general’ guests.
An official from the hotel said, ‘We apologize for having caused misunderstanding,’ but added the decision to designate separate elevators had been made in line with guidelines issued by the organising committee of the Olympics and Paralympics.
The hotel, which is located in Chiyoda Ward near the Japanese Imperial Palace, is reportedly hosting several guests involved in the games, but has also remained open to domestic travellers.
The Tokyo Olympics have become increasingly controversial in Japan, with many residents calling for the games to be cancelled amid the ongoing pandemic. Ahead of the delayed games’ opening ceremony next week, the prime minister of Japan has issued a state of emergency in Tokyo, which is set to last for the duration of the Olympics.
As a result of the state of emergency, all events are set to be held behind closed doors, while the Olympic torch relay in Tokyo was cancelled last week amid fears it would draw crowds that could spread the virus.
Japan has suffered a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks as a result of the more contagious Delta variant, and has also had struggles with its vaccine rollout, with fewer than one quarter of its residents having received the jab, Reuters reports.
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