Japan doubles limit on arrivals ahead of controlled reopening to tourism
Tokyo, June 1 (EFE).- Japan Wednesday doubled its limit on foreign arrivals in the country to 20,000 people ahead of a controlled reopening of borders for foreign tourists.
The increase comes as Japan enforced a new system that categorizes countries into three levels – blue, yellow and red, depending on their epidemic situation.
Under the system, people from 98 countries and regions designated as “blue” – including Spain, the United States, China, and South Korea – will be exempt from undergoing a Covid-19 test or isolating upon arrival, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.
However, presenting a negative Covid-19 test conducted within 72 hours before boarding remains necessary.
Japan is aiming to make entry restrictions more flexible as it prepares to reopen to tourists after more than two years of border closures.
The country banned the entry of non-residents in March 2020.
In November last year, after the detection of the highly contagious Omicron variant, it suspended the entry of all foreign visitors.
It began gradual easing of restrictions from March, as the vaccination drive progressed and international travel resumed.
The relaxation included allowing family members of foreign residents to visit the country.
Starting June 10, Japan will allow the controlled arrival of tourists.
The pilot project would be restricted to organized tours from the 98 countries in the blue category.
The tours will be organized by selected registered agencies that act as guarantors during the trip.
Top government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference on Wednesday that Japan aimed to maintain a balance between covid prevention and socio-economic activities through this approach.
The government seeks to act with the utmost care during this transition to normalcy, he said.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said more details on the tourist guidelines will be given on June 7 after the conclusion of a pilot project.
Several groups of tourists from four countries – the US, Australia, Singapore and Thailand – have arrived under the project, launched on May 24.
On Tuesday, the authorities suspended a tour after one of its members tested positive days after arriving. The route of infection is unknown. EFE