Japan to Start Gradual Easing of COVID-19 Travel Restrictions From Oct. 1

TOKYO – Japan will start a staged easing on Thursday of new coronavirus travel advisory it issued to 159 countries and regions beginning with nations that have a low number of cases.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has placed 159 areas, including the Philippines, at Level 3 on a four-point scale, urging Japanese nationals to avoid all travel to the country/area regardless of the purpose.

“To resume the traveling of people in and out of the country, we need to have a balance of it, and the avoidance of spreading COVID-19. Therefore, it will not merely simply be just easing the Warning on Infectious Diseases Levels, but it needs to be combined with countermeasures,” Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said in a press conference Tuesday, adding that the Japanese government would like to “thoroughly review” the resumption of travel.

At the 43rd meeting of the Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters last Sept. 25, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stressed the importance of the resumption of international travel to the revival of the economy.

“The Suga Cabinet will advance its relevant efforts with the policy of resuming the movement of people as much as possible from next month, except tourists, regardless of whether they are Japanese or foreign nationals, after thoroughly conducting tests,” he said.

Starting Oct. 1, Japan will allow the entry of foreign nationals with permission to stay in the country for more than three months for business or other non-tourism purposes. Returnees will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing and observe a two-week quarantine period to prevent the infection from spreading. - Florenda Corpuz