Since the start of the pandemic, Japan has been largely closed off to the world, only allowing Japanese citizens and residents to enter the country for most of the past two years. However, according to Kyodo News, the government is now looking to ease the entry ban on nonresident foreigners in March.
Japan had begun to allow overseas students and business travellers into the country in late 2021, but with the rise of the Omicron variant, tighter entry and quarantine restrictions were brought back and then extended into the new year. However, the tighter rules are currently set to expire on February 28.
While Japan could extend the measures again, the government is reportedly planning to end the restrictions as scheduled. Japan has already reduced quarantine for overseas arrivals to seven days, and is now considering relaxing restrictions even further from March onwards. The government is eyeing a reduced three- or five-day self-isolation period when certificates of negative Covid-19 tests or a third vaccine dose are shown. No official announcement has been made yet, but the relaxed border control measures could be announced sometime this week at the earliest.
As reported by The Japan Times, the government is also considering raising the entry cap on overseas arrivals to 5,000 people per day. Currently, only 3,500 entrants are allowed per day.
Academic and business groups have been critical of the entry ban. The measures, which were originally intended to keep the Omicron variant out of Japan, are seen as unnecessary by the government now that Omicron has become the dominant strain in Japan. Not only that, the World Health Organization recommends international traffic bans be eased or lifted as they are not effective in curbing the spread of Omicron.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
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