Japan to Ease Border Restrictions for Some Foreigners, Including Americans

Japan to Ease Border Restrictions for Some Foreigners Including Americans

Japan announced on Wednesday that it would ease restrictions for travelers from 106 countries — including Britain, France, Germany, India and the United States — who wish to enter for business reasons or for a long-term stay.

Beginning Friday, except for those with “touristic purposes,” citizens of the countries “will not be subject to denial of permission to enter,” according to a statement on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. The approved nations do not include China or Australia.

Japan has maintained tight control of its borders throughout the pandemic. Most of its Asian neighbors have already eased their travel restrictions, with the significant exception of China. Japan’s relative caution has proved politically popular, and analysts say this is unlikely to change substantially before a parliamentary election in July.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, at least 1 in 19 residents of Japan have been infected with the coronavirus, a far lower proportion than in many other industrialized countries. There have been more than 28,000 deaths, according to figures from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

The head of Japan’s tourism agency, Koichi Wada, told Parliament last month that “it’s exceedingly difficult to forecast the long-term trends for inbound tourism.”

In other developments around the world:

  • Spain will lift its mask requirement indoors except for on public transport, in hospitals and in nursing homes, Carolina Darias, the health minister, said on Wednesday. The change will go into effect on April 20, just after Easter, when larger groups typically gather. Ms. Darias said that the government would continue to recommend that people “wear masks responsibly,” particularly in crowded places. The lifting of one of Spain’s few remaining coronavirus restrictions reflects what Ms. Darias called “a favorable environment” in the country, where cases now make up only 3.5 percent of hospitalizations. Last month, Spain lifted the isolation requirement for people who have been infected with the coronavirus but have mild or no symptoms.

Read the Full Article Here nytimes

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