World

Japan will consider relaxing entry requirements, government announces

The Japanese government will consider easing its three-month-old entry ban on non-resident foreigners, as a result of increasing criticism from academic and business circles, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida confirmed on Saturday.

He did not say exactly when the border controls could be eased. The current measures, imposed at the end of November to prevent the spread of the Omicrom coronavirus variant, are scheduled to end on February 28th.

“We will take into account accumulated scientific knowledge of the Omicron variant, changes in infection conditions inside and outside Japan, and other countries’ border control measures,” Mr Kishida told reporters in Tokyo. The government is preparing to announce the details next week at the earliest, a government source said.

Mr. Kishida’s remarks followed criticism of the entry ban from many academic and business leaders. The measure has prevented international students from entering Japan, prompting some to consider alternatives such as South Korea.

The business community, which is facing an alarming labour shortage, has also asked for the ban to be lifted. The government is considering easing the cap on the number of daily new entrants from abroad from the current 3,500, the source said.

Before November, up to 5,000 people were allowed in each day. The entry ban has been in place since November 30th, when Japan confirmed its first case of Omicron.

The government said last month it plans to allow some government-sponsored foreign students who have less than a year left until they graduate or finish their studies to enter as an exceptional measure.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: JAPAN TIMES

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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