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Japan to Ease Foreign Travel Restrictions Further as Early as September

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
NHK: Government to allow tourists via travel agencies without in-person guides

The Japanese government reported on Monday that it is considering raising the maximum daily number of allowed entries into the country above the current 20,000. The new maximum could be as high as 50,000, starting in September.

The public broadcaster NHK also reported that the government will begin accepting tourists without in-person guides once again in September. This proposal would remove the current requirement for tourists to be in a guided tour group, so long as they still make travel arrangements through travel agencies. The agencies would still manage schedules of their clients, who would receive guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The government also reported on Monday that it is considering no longer requiring a negative COVID-19 test from travelers who have received at least three COVID-19 vaccine shots (including one booster). Currently, travelers (including returning Japanese nationals and residents) must submit the negative results of a test taken 72 hours before departing on a flight to enter Japan.

Japan reported 343 deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest one-day record for the country during the pandemic so far.

Japan began easing its COVID-19 entry restrictions for foreign students and business travelers (if they have sponsors) on March 1. In addition, the government increased the number of people (Japanese and foreign nationals combined) who are allowed to enter from 3,500 to 5,000 daily, and shortened the COVID-19 quarantine period from seven to three days. The government then raised the daily cap to 7,000 on March 14, and again to 10,000 on April 10.

The government then opened tourism to guided tour groups exclusively on June 10, and raised the daily maximum allowed entries into the country from 10,000 to 20,000 people.

The border control measure that started in late November was in response to the global spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The Japanese government had also extended the border restrictions to February, setting a ban on new foreign entrants, in order to curb the spread.

Japan banned entry to all foreign tourists early in the pandemic in 2020.

Sources: NHK World (link 2), NHK (link 2)via Hachima Kikō

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