Japan to consider allowing entry of business people, students within the month but tourists excluded

The Japanese government is considering easing coronavirus-related border controls within the month.

The Nikkei newspaper reports that the government may announce the policy change as early as this week, with implementation to begin in November to allow foreign business people into the country for short-term business trips. International students and technical trainees would also be allowed in, but tourists are still excluded.

As of October 1st, about 370,000 foreigners have not been able to enter Japan due to border measures meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, even though they have been issued Certificates of Eligibility (COEs) from the Immigration Services Agency of Japan. About 70% of those waiting for the border to open are technical interns and foreign students. The agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors are especially reliant on foreigner labor; as are Japanese language schools waiting for foreign students to return.

The tourism industry in Japan has also been walloped by the border closure, but the policy change currently under consideration will not yet let tourists in.

The quarantine requirement for short-term business travelers will be cut to as little as three days for vaccinated visitors, from  the current ten days. The shorter quarantine requirement will also apply to Japanese nationals returning from business trips abroad.

Companies, schools and, organizations receiving foreign nationals will also be required to monitor their activities and report on their infection control measures to the relevant government agency (METI, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, etc.)

The easing of of rules for short-term business people, students, and technical trainees will apply to foreigners newly entering the country.

The government will also closely monitor the outbreak of virus variants overseas and would promptly take border-related countermeasures as appropriate.

Source: Nikkei newspaper, November 1, 2021 (in Japanese)

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