One step forward, two steps back. Though for a short while Japan was on track to reopening its borders, the rise of domestic coronavirus cases has prompted the government to once again ban all entry to foreign nationals.
Earlier in December, the government announced that new entry of foreign nationals would be banned from December 28 until the end of January, but business travellers from countries that Japan had formed agreements with were exempted from this. According to Kyodo News, the latest restriction, announced by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on January 13, means that business travellers and students, along with all other nonresident foreign visitors from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Taiwan, Singapore, Brunei, South Korea and China will no longer be allowed into Japan.
As of January 13, the nation’s second state of emergency has been expanded to cover a total of 11 prefectures: Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Aichi, Gifu, Tochigi and Fukuoka as well as Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa. The state of emergency is expected to last until February 7, which is also the date the new entry rules are set to be relaxed.
Note that Japanese citizens and foreign residents will still be allowed to enter the country, although they will now be subject to stricter quarantine rules.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.