Japan to ease entry for businesspeople, students but not tourists
Written by tokyoclub on November 2, 2021
Japan looks to let foreigners visit the country for short business trips, study abroad and technical training in an easing of its strict coronavirus-related entry rules, Nikkei has learned.
Tourists are not included in this round. The government is expected to announce the policy changes as early as this week, with implementation to begin this month.
With new COVID-19 cases down substantially from record levels over the summer, Japan aims to gradually loosen a de facto entry ban on foreigners that has become a source of growing frustration among businesses. Top corporate lobby Keidanren has been among the advocates of a more flexible approach.
The quarantine requirement for short-term business travelers will be cut to as little as three days for vaccinated visitors, from 10 days now. Companies and organizations receiving foreign nationals will be required to monitor their activities.
The shorter quarantine requirement will also apply to Japanese nationals returning from business trips abroad.
Japan clamped down on immigration in January, responding to the emergence of more-contagious coronavirus variants. Only foreigners with “exceptional circumstances,” such as those with reentry permits and the spouses and children of Japanese nationals, have been allowed into the country.
As of Oct. 1, about 370,000 foreigners had been unable to come to Japan because of strict border controls, about 70% of whom are technical interns and foreign students. The agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors — which are struggling with labor shortages — and schools that now cannot accept foreign students have called for allowing new arrivals.
The eased rules will apply to new visitors. Companies, schools or other receiving organizations will need to report on their infection control measures to a relevant government agency.