Kishida Hints at Extension of Tightened Border Controls

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida left open on Thursday the possibility of Japan extending its tighter border control measures against the new omicron variant of the novel coronavirus that are currently scheduled to end at the end of the year.

“We must continue to take cautious measures until the degree of risk can be predicted to some extent,” Kishida said in a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors.

Regarding third shots of COVID-19 vaccines, he said the government will finalize the overall picture of its vaccination program as early as possible and present it to local governments, while continuing efforts to secure vaccine supplies.

At the upper house meeting, Eiji Kidoguchi of the leading opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan brought up the planned release into the ocean of treated radioactive water from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan.

Reconstruction Minister Kosaburo Nishime said that it is extremely important to prevent the water release from hampering reconstruction efforts in areas hit by the March 2011 disaster. “We’ll do our best to address the issue of harmful rumors by providing scientific information,” he said.

On North Korea’s abduction of Japanese nationals decades ago, Kishida said, “Our goal of bringing home all the abductees hasn’t changed and won’t change.”