Japan to ease Covid-19 border restrictions in September

Tokyo, Aug 24 (EFE).- Japan’s prime minister announced Wednesday that the country would take another step in September in easing the coronavirus border restrictions to allow the entry of travelers without need for a pre-departure Covid-19 test.

Fumio Kishida also pointed out in a virtual press conference on Wednesday that Japan plans to expand the number of people allowed in the country, referring to the daily quota of 20,000 travelers currently allowed to enter the territory.

Japan is the only Group of Seven (G7) country that maintains strict restrictions on overseas tourists due to the pandemic.

These measures were relaxed in July but continue to restrict the entry of foreign visitors with strict requirements and the need for a prior visa.

Kishida did not make any reference to foreign tourism although the Japanese media reported that Japan plans to allow the entry of visitors from September. Only about 2,000 people entered the country on tourist visas in July.

The prime minister said that his objective was to ease the measures to bring them in line with those of other G7 countries although he did not specify when all the restrictions will be lifted.

Currently, the Japanese authorities allow the entry of tourists that come on an organized tour conducted by Japanese agencies and are accompanied at all times by a guide during their stay in the country.

This and other restrictions have led to a very small number of people opting to travel to the country.

Regarding the new conditions for entering the country, Kishida said that the number of daily entrants will be decided based on how the situation unfolds.

Starting Sep. 7, Japan will stop requiring all travelers, including Japanese citizens and foreign residents and visitors, to present a negative PCR test result upon arrival as long as they have a certificate showing they have received three doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

At the domestic level, Kishida also announced that Japan will modify its criteria for counting daily cases – as other countries have already done – at a time the country is facing its seventh and largest wave of infections to date.

Kishida himself tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday, and has since been in isolation and working from home, which has forced him to amend his agenda for this week and to appear before the media and participate in meetings with his cabinet virtually.

Since the end of July, Japan has recorded the highest number of new weekly Covid-19 cases, according to the World Health Organization, which is attributed to the gradual abandonment of the count of official figures and the reduction of testing in other developed countries. EFE


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