Japan to ease COVID border controls with 20,000 daily int’l arrivals

The government said Friday that Japan will double the cap on overseas arrivals to 20,000 people per day starting next month as it continues to ease border controls triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The government will also ease COVID-19 testing and quarantine rules, dividing countries and regions into three groups according to the infection situation.

Travelers from the group with the lowest infection rate will be exempt from testing upon arrival in Japan and quarantining at home, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a press conference.

The government is also set to announce that wearing masks when outdoors is not always necessary, provided people are not conversing, an official said.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said his government will further relax border controls to bring them in line with other Group of Seven nations in June.

Japan effectively closed its doors to nonresident foreign nationals to prevent a surge in infections driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus late last year.

In recent months, the government has gradually increased the number of people allowed to enter Japan in stages, with the current daily cap at 10,000.

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