Japan to discontinue COVID-19 testing on arrival in principle

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Haneda Airport is crowded following the easing of coronavirus-related border control measures in early September.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan will discontinue, in principle, COVID-19 testing at airports and other facilities, currently conducted on all arrivals in the country, as part of the easing of its novel coronavirus border control measures from Oct. 11, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Monday.

Speaking at a press conference, Matsuno said, “We will not conduct (COVID-19) testing for all people returning to or entering Japan, with the exception of those displaying symptoms that may be those of COVID-19.”

As an alternative to the tests, Japan will ask people to submit either a certificate showing that they have received their third COVID-19 vaccine shots, or a negative result of a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before departure from the foreign country where they had been staying.

As part of the plan to relax its border control measures, Japan will also welcome back independent travelers from overseas, resume the acceptance of visa-free travelers, remove its cap on the number of people allowed to enter the country per day and allow airports and ports to launch new international flight and sea routes.

“We will ease (border controls) further to enable smooth entry into the country to an extent that matches levels implemented by other Group of Seven nations, while maintaining minimum necessary steps taking burdens on the country’s health care system into consideration,” Matsuno said.

Japan will “deal flexibly” with the situation if the World Health Organization recognizes the spread of a new highly contagious variant of the novel coronavirus, he added.