Japan to relax border controls from Oct. 11

The Associated Press
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a press conference in New York on Thursday.

NEW YORK — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday that the government will significantly relax its border control measures against the novel coronavirus from Oct. 11.

At a press conference in New York, Kishida announced plans to lift an entry ban on individual tourists, scrap the current daily entry limit of 50,000 people and allow visitors from the United States and certain other countries to enter Japan for short stays without a visa.

In light of the decline in infection numbers in Japan, the government intends to shift the gears of its COVID-19 measures toward living with the coronavirus.

As a measure to stimulate demand in the tourism and entertainment sectors, which have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, Kishida said that the government will also start a nationwide travel discount campaign and a discount program for events on Oct. 11. Under these programs, discounts and other services are expected to be available on the condition of users having had three vaccinations, among other things.

Regarding the intervention in the foreign exchange market by the government and the Bank of Japan, the prime minister stressed, “Repeated excessive fluctuations due to speculation can’t be overlooked.”

“We will closely monitor developments in the foreign exchange market with a high level of vigilance and take decisive and necessary action against excessive fluctuations,” he added.

At the press conference, Kishida also mentioned China, expressing his willingness to coordinate toward bilateral dialogue by thoroughly considering what the dialogue should be like, with the possibility of summit talks included.