Japan announced on Thursday that it would cautiously reopen its borders in March by lifting the daily restriction on the number of people allowed to enter the country while remaining closed to tourists.
According to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the number of people allowed to enter the country daily will be increased from 3,500 to 5,000 beginning March 1, a move that will benefit business travellers, international students, and exchange students, among others.
On the other hand, tourists will continue to be refused entry into the country.
On the other hand, tourists will continue to be refused entry into the country. PM Kishida also said that the seven-day quarantine requirement upon arrival into the country would be decreased to three days for people who have a negative test and booster shot. Still, the seven-day condition will remain in effect for those with a positive COVID-19 test.
According to World Health Organization data, Japan has noticed a modest decrease in cases in recent days, including reporting just shy of 80,000 cases on Wednesday and more than 63,000 cases the day before. In comparison, earlier this month, the number of reported cases surpassed 100,000.
According to Johns Hopkins University data, about 80% of Japanese are fully vaccinated.
The announcement marks the country’s first relaxed border controls since November. PM Kishida noted that the government would look into when tourists could be welcomed back into the country but did not give a time range.
“It’s not realistic to ease the restrictions all at once,” he told the news agency.
Qantas has scheduled flights from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, replacing the city’s faraway Narita Airport with Haneda’s downtown convenience while simultaneously announcing the permanent shutdown of its Narita lounge.
JAL, a Oneworld member and Virgin Australia partner ANA, both fly between Sydney and Tokyo, and JAL also offered a Melbourne-to-Tokyo route before the pandemic.