Tokyo, May 27 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s government plans to prioritize businesspeople and experts in easing its entry restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic, it was learned Wednesday.
The government has started considering easing the curbs in stages from this summer, first for people from such regions as the United States and Asia, after it fully lifted its state of emergency over the virus crisis on Monday, government sources said.
It hopes to accept businesspeople first as it aims to revitalize the domestic economy hurt by the fallout of the epidemic as early as possible.
Meanwhile, the government will carefully consider relaxing the restrictions for tourists, who tend to travel in wide areas, in order to prevent the virus from spreading again in Japan, the sources said.
“We will ease the entry restrictions for people necessary for business operations, as well as experts, in the first stage, and then for foreign students,” Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told a meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, on Tuesday.
After a while, the entry curbs will be relaxed for the general public, including tourists, he said.
The scope of areas subject to the relaxed restrictions will be expanded gradually. The government is considering accepting visitors first from the United States, China and South Korea in view of Japan’s strong economic relations with these countries, and from Australia, where the coronavirus outbreak has subsided, the sources said.
European and Latin American countries may be added to the list later depending on the situations in the nations, the sources said.
Meanwhile, a government official pointed out that the situation in the United States has yet to stabilize although Tokyo wants to ease the entry restrictions first for the country.
A Foreign Ministry official said, “We have to examine whether the outbreak in Japan has really subsided,” noting that the government is unlikely to ease the restrictions soon.
The government has decided to extend the period for implementing its coronavirus-related border control measures, such as invalidating visas, until the end of June from the end of this month.
Japan’s entry ban linked to the pandemic currently covers 110 countries and one region.