Japan Eases COVID-19 Border Controls

Japanese officials said the government would shorten the period of quarantine for all arrivals — both Japanese and foreign nationals — from the current seven days to three days starting in March when it opens the border for all travelers.

Media reports said Prime Minister Fumio Kishida would hold a news conference on Thursday to explain the details of the plan.

For Marcus Schuermann, CEO of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan, the expected easing of entry restrictions is a move in the right direction — but still inadequate.

“It is an increase which is appreciated, but still limited. This will not be enough,” Schuermann said, urging Japan to raise the cap on entries to around 8,000 or 9,000 people a day, excluding tourists.

Christopher LaFleur, the special adviser to the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, welcomed the reported move, stating that it would address the needs of businesses, foreign students, and teachers, as well as separated family members.

“To make this decision meaningful, however, it is critical that the government greatly streamlines application and visa processing and procedures at ports of entry,” LaFleur said.

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