TOKYO, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Japan is planning to ease its coronavirus-linked travel restrictions this summer by allowing, at first, the entry of up to 250 business people per day from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam, government sources and local media said Thursday.
File photo by AFP
Japan currently has had an entry ban in place from 111 countries and regions, and foreign travelers who have visited countries on the banned list within two weeks would be refused entry.
"We will continue to carefully consider ways to partially resume international travel in steps, while taking care to prevent infections from spreading," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary committee.
Travelers 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 travelers, some 181 foreign countries and regions have slapped travel bans or restrictions on Japan, with Australia and New Zealand reportedly saying it may still be too early to allow entry of Japanese travelers.
Japan is in talks with Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand as the potential first batch of travelers 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 been judged to have successfully brought the coronavirus outbreak under control in their respective countries, plus the business ties between Japan and these countries, said the sources.
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 United States.
To inspire more confidence in Japan having overcome the worst of the pandemic, the government is planning to set up test centers so those planning to travel overseas can meet the requirements of foreign countries requiring negative test results from Japanese travelers prior to their departure.