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Japan to continue entry ban on foreigners

  • March 19, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 2:04 a.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, March 18 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government Thursday decided to maintain its ban on new entry by foreign nationals for a while after the planned lifting of its coronavirus state of emergency Sunday.

The decision reflected concerns over the spread of coronavirus variants.

But the government will allow entry of those coming to Japan for purposes in the public interest or those facing an emergency as exceptional cases.

As a result, up to some 2,000 people, also including Japanese expatriates and foreigners with resident status re-entering Japan, are expected to be allowed to enter the country per day.

“Japan will control the total number of people entering the country by restricting the number of flight passengers,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.

As to whether border control measures should be eased, he told a parliamentary steering committee meeting Thursday, “We need to make a careful decision based on infection situations both at home and abroad.”

In urgent cases, Japan will consider whether to allow entry on a case-by-case basis on condition that thorough infection prevention measures are taken, Suga told the committee meeting.

He expressed the view that people related to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics slated for this summer will be allowed to enter Japan as exceptional cases.

Those entering Japan for purposes in the public interest to be treated as exceptions include foreign affairs and defense officials, people in business communities, figures engaged in research and education, and those related to culture and art.

Those receiving such special treatment will be obliged to undergo a 14-day quarantine and barred from using public transportation.

On Thursday, the government decided to lift the state of emergency, which began in January, without extending it again.

Japan had accepted entry by short- to long-term business travelers. But due to the spread of coronavirus variant cases overseas, the government banned new entry by foreigners from around the world, including business travelers, in January, saying that the measure would continue until the end of the emergency.

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