THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
October 8, 2020 at 16:23 JST
An arriving passenger scans a completed questionnaire at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture on Sept. 30. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
International business travel for Japanese nationals and those with residency status will likely become much more convenient without having to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, sources said.
The government has begun discussing a plan to ease restrictions for business travelers that have been in place to boost economic recovery.
Under the plan, Japanese nationals returning from an overseas business trip and foreign nationals who hold a re-entry visa will not have to stay home for two weeks after entering Japan, which has been required to lower the risk of spreading the infection.
They will be asked, however, to submit a document that explains where they will stay and work while in Japan and with whom they are scheduled to meet.
For the two-week period after entry, they will only be allowed to travel between where they are staying and where they work without using public transportation.
They will have to name a “guarantor” in Japan who will ensure they follow the rules.
Lastly, they will be required to sign a pledge.
The government will change anti-virus measures according to the pandemic situation in each country from where visitors come from, government sources said.
The government also plans to lift travel restrictions for 12 countries and regions that have relatively controlled the pandemic: China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia.
The government is expected to make the final decision by the end of October and implement the new policy as soon as possible.
The decision will be a "major turning point" in Japan's handling of the pandemic at the border, a government source said.
The government since January has expanded the target countries and regions regarding travel warnings and immigration denial.
For the first time since the pandemic hit Japan, the government will start lifting these restrictions.
It will not open borders for foreign tourists because the government is expected to keep restrictions on visa issuances and other measures intact.
But visitors from these countries and regions that Japan has issued a visa will not be required to take a coronavirus test upon entry to Japan.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in September instructed related government agencies to further ease travel restrictions.
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