Borders to Reopen in March
Coronavirus-related border control measures will be eased from March, and non-resident foreigners such as business people, students and technical interns will finally be allowed to enter Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Thursday.
“The spread of omicron variant infections is slowing down. I believe we are taking steps toward the way out of the sixth wave,” he said during a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office. The decision was made after the number of new infections, which had surged since January, has started to decline. There were also calls from schools all over Japan to relax the restrictions and allow students to enter Japan. The current measures ban entries of non-resident foreigners in principle, and the total number of people entering or returning to Japan is limited to 3,500 persons per day. Starting in March, 5,000 non-resident foreigners will be allowed to come to Japan. However, this excludes tourists.
Regulations involving self-isolation upon entry will also be eased. Currently, people are required to stay at home or at government-designated facilities and other locations for seven days in principle, but the period will be shortened to three days if they meet certain conditions such as providing negative test results. Those who come from countries and regions where infections are not spreading and also have received a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine will be exempt from the self-isolation requirement. However, the prime minister emphasized that there would not be swift and sweeping change. “It’s not realistic to relax all the measures at once. This is the first step,” he said.
Currently, immigration are working on criteria for students to come to Japan in waves based on their overall length of waiting. Meaning, those who have been waiting the longest will be first in line to come to Japan.
The new measures and dates for applications are expected to be announced soon.