Japan plans to ease entry bans for some foreign visitors

Japan is planning to ease its coronavirus-linked travel restrictionsby allowing, at first, the entry of up to 250 business people per day from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam, government sources said.

Japan currently has an entry ban in place from 111 countries and regions, and foreign travellers who have visited nations on the banned list, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We will continue to carefully consider ways to partially resume international travel in steps, while taking care to prevent infections from spreading,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary committee on Thursday.

Travellers from the permitted overseas countries would have to undergo tests before arriving in Japan to prove they are negative for COVID-19.

Upon landing in Japan they will be required to take another test, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Those qualifying for entry will be required to submit to officials details of their place of residence during their visit as well as an itinerary of places they intend to visit, the sources said.

They may be asked to refrain from using public transport and possibly be required to use a GPS app on their smartphones so that contact tracing can be carried out if they become infected.

As for outbound Japanese travellers, some 181 foreign countries and regions have slapped travel bans or restrictions on Japan.

Japan is in talks with Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand as the potential first batch of travellers it reopens its doors to, although the government would like this measure to be reciprocal, the sources said.

The four countries were picked as they have successfully brought the coronavirus pandemic under control.

The government here said that following its initial easing of entry restrictions for the four countries, it will look to further expand the easing of restrictions applicable to China, South Korea and the US.

To inspire more confidence in Japan having overcome the worst of the pandemic, the government is planning to set up test centres so those planning to travel overseas can meet the requirements of foreign countries requiring negative test results from Japanese travellers prior to their departure.

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