Japan eases travel alert for 54 countries – Nationwide
The Japanese government eased its travel warning over the coronavirus pandemic for 54 countries and a region, including Indonesia and the Philippines, and is no longer requesting that residents in Japan refrain from nonessential trips to those nations. The Foreign Ministry said it had lowered the travel advisory for those areas from the second-lowest Level 2 on its four-point scale to Level 1, which advises Japanese nationals traveling to those regions to “stay fully alert.”
Among the others newly designated as Level 1 are 23 countries and a region from the Middle East and Africa, such as Egypt and South Africa, 11 European nations including Ukraine and Russia, 10 Asian and Pacific countries such as Pakistan and Myanmar, and 10 in Latin America, according to the ministry. Meanwhile, 35 areas including Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Turkey remained under the Level 2 warning.
In addition, advisories for 41 other nations were downgraded from Level 3, which warns people to avoid all travel, to Level 2. Among them are 33 in the Middle East and Africa, four in the Caribbean, three in Eastern Europe, and Kyrgyzstan. Seventy other nations and areas such as China, South Korea, India, the United States, Britain, France and Germany have already been moved to Level 1. The total number of areas under the Level 1 category now stands at 125, while those at Level 2 have declined to 76. No nations fall into Level 3 and 4. The ministry said it still recommends those who plan to travel overseas to get fully vaccinated to prevent COVID-19 infection.
Japan to scrap pre-entry COVID test for triple-vaccinated travellers; cap on entrants remains – Nationwide
Japan will no longer require incoming travellers to show a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test result starting on Sept 7, provided they have been vaccinated three times, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said. The government will soon decide whether to raise the daily entry cap on travellers, currently set at 20,000, Kishida said, as Japan aims to further relax its coronavirus border control steps, often criticized for being too stringent, in line with other Group of Seven major economies. Currently, those who wish to enter Japan must show proof of a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of departure.
Kishida also said the government will change the detailed coronavirus reporting system, limiting the target to elderly people and those at risk of developing severe symptoms at the discretion of each municipality hit by surging COVID-19 infections. The total number of daily positive cases will still be reported. The review is part of the government’s efforts to reduce the burden on hospitals and local health centres as the Omicron strain has driven cases sharply higher and left the medical system stretched thin.
The current 20,000 cap on new arrivals was set in June, having been raised from 10,000. The limit includes Japanese citizens returning from overseas. Japan has also opened its doors again to foreign tourists, though they need to be on package tours. Before the pandemic, Japan had around 32 million foreign visitors in 2019 but the number plunged to around 246,000 in 2021.
Over 100,000 foreign visitors came to Japan in July for 4th month in row – Nationwide
The number of foreign arrivals in Japan in July exceeded 100,000 for the fourth straight month following the easing of COVID-19 border control measures in a bid to shore up the tepid economy, official data showed. The foreign arrivals, which totalled 144,500 last month, were 2.8 times higher than those in July 2021. But it represented a 95.2 percent plunge from the same month in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.
While Japan reopened its doors to small-scale tours in June, the number of foreign tourists to the country remained low at 7,903 the following month. It is believed the complicated procedures required to visit the nation, such as acquiring a negative coronavirus test result and a visa, are part of the reasons for the low number of tourists. The number of people who have applied for entry into Japan for tourism purposes for the period from Aug. 12 to 31 was 7,412, the organization said. The travel application figures for September and for October onwards stand at 4,730 and 2,810, respectively, with the majority from South Korea.
By country, the largest number of total foreign arrivals to Japan in July was from Vietnam at 22,700, South Korea at 20,400 and China at 14,800, with most likely to have come as technical interns, businesspeople, or international students.