Japan to reopen borders for business travelers, students

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan will reopen its borders for business travelers and students Monday, easing its border restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus, the government said Friday.

Foreigners making business trips, foreign students and technical interns from abroad will be able to enter Japan on condition that host organizations, such as companies and universities, that accept them manage their movements thoroughly.

Short-term business travelers planning to stay for up to three months will see their quarantine period shortened from 10 days to three days at the shortest on condition that they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Since January, the government has been limiting entry by foreigners to those with special reasons in principle.

The business community was asking the government to ease the restrictions following progress in vaccinations and improvements in infection situations in Japan and abroad.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara told a press conference that the government will check the effectiveness of measures to manage the activities of foreigners within this year at the earliest and consider reopening the borders also for tourists.

But he was quick to add, “We’ll act flexibly if the situation deteriorates due to the spread of a new variant or other reasons.” Kihara thus indicated the possibility of tightening the restrictions again if necessary.

Vaccinated short-term business travelers will be allowed to go out if they test negative for the coronavirus on the third day from arrival and their host organizations submit the travelers’ activity plans to the government and obtain approval.

Those meeting the requirements will be allowed to go to work, attend training seminars and travel on public transportation using reserved seats, for example, government officials said.

Longer-term business travelers, students and technical interns will be allowed to enter Japan on condition they undergo 14 days of quarantine.

The period will be shortened to 10 days if they were inoculated with any of the coronavirus vaccines designated by the government, namely the products of Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca PLC. The designated products do not include Chinese vaccines.

The government will keep the daily limit on the number of foreigners entering Japan at around 3,500 for the time being.