Japan to ease virus entry restrictions next month

Japan will ease strict coronavirus border restrictions from October to allow more foreign nationals to enter, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Friday.

The country banned entry for most foreigners this year in the wake of the pandemic, but has been negotiating the gradual resumption of cross-border business travel.

“We will resume travel for all people — whether Japanese or foreigners — as much as possible, but excluding tourists, from next month,” Suga said at a government coronavirus meeting.

Local media have reported that new overseas arrivals would be capped at 1,000 per day and the minimum stay would be three months.

Foreigners entering Japan must take a high-precision PCR coronavirus test and self-isolate for 14 days on arrival, reports have said.

The decision comes after a taskforce charged with finding ways to safely hold the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games proposed strict movement controls and repeated coronavirus tests for Olympic athletes.

Athletes may have to submit a detailed plan of their activities in advance — and pledge to follow it — or save their whereabouts on a “map app.”

They may be required to test three days before leaving home, on arrival and during their stay, but they will be allowed to train during any quarantine.

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