Japan to Maintain COVID-19 Border Control Measures against China

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Passengers arrive from China queuing up for a virus test at Narita Airport on Jan. 12.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan will maintain for the time being its COVID-19 border control rules for travelers from China, which were strengthened late last year, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Monday.

Looking further ahead, Matsuno told a press conference, “We’ll respond flexibly while monitoring the infection situation in China.”

These remarks came after the Chinese government resumed on Sunday ordinary visa issuance for Japanese visitors to the country, following a suspension from Jan. 10 that was viewed as retaliation for Japan’s tightening of its COVID-19 border control measures for people from China.

As new infection cases in China surged following Beijing’s shift away from its zero COVID-19 policy, Japan started requiring all arrivals from mainland China and those who have visited the country within seven days to undergo COVID-19 tests from Dec. 30. China reacted sharply against this move, deciding on the visa issuance suspension.

Matsuno said he will refrain from commenting on the reason for China’s resumption of visa issuance, noting that it involves diplomatic communication. Japan had been seeking China’s withdrawal of its decision to suspend visa issuance for Japanese citizens.