Japan Keeps Travel Ban on Foreign Tourists

TOKYO – While the Japanese government is easing its strict border restrictions to allow businesspeople, technical interns and students into the country from March 1, it emphasized on Thursday foreign tourists are still not allowed to enter Japan.

“The new entry of foreign nationals into Japan under the supervision of receiving organizations is allowed, except for those entering Japan for tourism,” a joint statement from the Cabinet Secretariat, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said.

Japan has barred foreign tourists from entering the country since early in the pandemic.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida decided to loosen the entry rules for international travelers due to the growing pressure on the government from the business community, academics and others.

The self-quarantine requirements will also be relaxed for arriving passengers.

“In principle, a 7-day home quarantine will apply to all entrants. Meanwhile, if the test result on the third day is negative, home quarantine is no longer required for the rest of the period,” the statement said.

It added that the quarantine period will be shortened for entrants who have completed their third vaccination shots: a three-day home quarantine instead of a three-day facility quarantine for entrants from countries not designated as having a high number of COVID-19 cases; and home quarantine exemption for those arriving from nations categorized as low-risk.

Currently, Japan limits the number of international arrivals to 3,500 people a day, including its citizens, but this will be increased to about 5,000 beginning next month. - Florenda Corpuz

(Article cover photo: Haneda Airport on Jan. 9, 2022. Din Eugenio)