Pax Global Media
Japan is ending its requirement for vaccinated travellers to have a COVID-19 test to enter the country in early September, a move that represents a gradual step toward reviving the country’s hard-hit tourism industry.
Scrapping pre-departure COVID-19 tests will apply to those who have received at least three vaccine doses, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday (Aug. 24), as reported by the Associated Press.
The Prime Minister is also considering increasing daily entry caps as soon as next month.
"We plan to gradually ease border controls to allow entry procedures to be as smooth as those of other Group of Seven countries," said Kishida, who is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.
Visitors that have received at least one booster vaccine can waive the pre-entry test beginning Sept. 7, Kishida told reporters.
The update comes after Japan, in June, partially opened its borders to foreign tourists for the first time in two years.
But there have been conditions. Tourists have only been able to enter Japan if they agree to join packaged tours with guides – a strategy that has not been widely accepted and has deterred many from visiting, reports indicate.
Daily cap of 50,000
Prime Minister Kishida said that there are also plans to increase the daily cap for incoming travellers, currently set at 20,000, "as soon as possible,” he said.
Reports suggest Japan is considering more than doubling its daily cap to 50,000 as early as next month.
"Our fight against the virus is not easy, but we should not be too afraid and instead take into consideration the characteristics of the omicron variant," Kishida said. "We will speed up our responses while balancing the infection measures and social and economic activities as much as possible."
Kishida said the country also plans to shorten the self-isolation period for COVID-19 patients from the current 10 days for those with symptoms and one week for those without symptoms.
The details of this new measure have yet to be finalized.
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