Japan considers easing entry ban for executives from US, EU

Tokyo, Jul 14 (efe-epa).- The government of Japan is considering easing travel restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country to allow executives from the European Union and the United States to enter the country under certain conditions, public broadcaster NHK reported Tuesday.

This measure is under consideration by the government, and if implemented, would be a another step in the gradual reopening of borders envisaged by the Japanese authorities, a process for which there is no defined timetable.

Japan could allow US or European business people to enter for short stays after undergoing PCR tests for the virus before departing from and arriving in the country, NHK added.

In the first phase of the lifting of restrictions, Japan is planning to allow executives from Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand to enter, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a press conference on Tuesday.

In addition to these four countries, the Japanese government is also in talks with another dozen mainly Asian countries for the relaxation of the entry ban in the future, according to NHK.

Consultations to ease travel restrictions with the first two countries mentioned have made significant progress, Motegi said, without giving more details on when the measures would be implemented.

When asked about the entry of European and American business people, the minister said that in the future, depending on how infections are controlled in other countries and whether it is compatible with Japan’s health measures, the government will think about how to lift other restrictions on cross-border travel.

Motegi said that Japan will study each country on a case-by-case basis, taking into account whether they are close to having infections under control and added that the Japanese authorities are trying to define a framework to allow cross-border movement that does not risk of spreading COVID-19 cases.

All this will be done with a view to allowing the recovery of the Japanese economy, which is a “very urgent” matter, the foreign minister stressed.

Japan currently prohibits citizens from about 130 countries, including the US and the entire EU, from entering the country on account of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Japanese immigration rules only allow the re-entry of permanent or long-term residents who have to leave the country due to special circumstances, such as the death of a family member or a surgical procedure. EFE-EPA


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