TOKYO: The government Friday decided to ease restrictions on entry into Japan by medium-and long-term visitors from around the world in October.
At a meeting of a government task force to tackle the novel coronavirus, the government decided to allow entry by foreigners who will stay in Japan for at least three months, effective from Thursday.
The government hopes to limit the number of such travelers admitted into Japan to about 1,000 per day. They will be required to meet some conditions.
The relaxation will mark a major change to the country’s border control measures introduced in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is essential to resume international travel in order to revive the economy,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in the meeting.
At present, the government bans entry from 159 countries and regions.
The Suga administration, launched earlier this month, aims to achieve economic revitalization without easing the reins on the fight against the coronavirus.
The latest decision, which came amid increasing requests from overseas to ease the entry restrictions, is part of the government’s bid to quickly shore up the sluggish economy while taking precautionary steps, officials said.
The relaxation is also expected to help Japan lay the groundwork for holding the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics next summer as currently scheduled.
Travelers entering Japan in or after October will be required to obtain negative results of coronavirus tests before departure and undergo a two-week self-quarantine upon arrival.
The travelers will also be required to get companies or organizations to guarantee that they will follow these rules.
Tourists for short-term trips will not be accepted yet.
Japan has resumed travel of long-term residents to and from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Taiwan on condition that they undergo a 14-day self-isolation. Singapore is set to join the list Wednesday.