Japan to ease entry rules, admit some new foreign visitors

REUTERS file photo
Women wearing protective face masks walk past the arrival zone at Narita international airport in November, 2020.

Japan intends to ease its pandemic-related restrictions on entry into the country by lifting its ban on foreign short-term business travelers, international students and technical interns from all countries and regions as early as next week, although tourists will continue to be barred.

Also, the quarantine period for Japanese citizens and foreign residents returning to Japan will be shortened, on certain conditions, to three days from the current 10 to 14.

The plan will take effect as early as Nov. 8, after the government listens to the opinions of the ruling parties.

The ban will be lifted only for foreign visitors who have hosts, such as companies and schools, and there will also be certain conditions such as prior notification about where they will stay and restrictions on their range of activities.

The government is considering allowing foreign business visitors to go out to conduct business transactions and other activities on their fourth day of quarantine on the condition that, for example, they present a vaccination certificate and submit an activity plan.

Earlier in the pandemic, the government had allowed new businesspeople from 11 countries and regions, including China and South Korea, to enter Japan on an exceptional basis, but that was suspended in January due to the spread of the infections. New entry of foreigners has basically been halted since then.