By Atsushi Iwasa
The Mainichi Shimbun interviewed Italian Ambassador to Japan Giorgio Starace on June 11. Starting from July, the EU countries including Italy are expected to gradually lift the travel restrictions that have been enforced amid the COVID-10 outbreak. “Italy wants to open our border early to tourists and businesspersons from Japan,” said Ambassador Starace.
Italy once marked the world highest number of deaths from COVID-19, but the number of the newly infected has trended downward. On June 3, aiming to reconstruct the country’s tourism industry, which has been significantly damaged by the border closure, Italy lifted the entry restriction imposed on the EU countries and the UK. The country, however, continues in principle to enforce the EU’s travel restriction on Japan and countries outside the EU. The EU has indicated it will lift the restriction after July. The priority order of countries in lifting the restriction will be determined from now on. Ambassador Starace stressed, “Japan and Italy are important economic partners of each other, and Japan has got the outbreak under control.” In this way, the ambassador indicated Italy will lift the entry restriction on Japan early.
On the other hand, Japan is taking strict measures against Italy including an entry ban. “Italy has got the coronavirus under control,” said the ambassador, calling on Japan to ease its restriction as well.