Japan to halt business travel deal with China and South Korea

Nikkei -- Jan 05
The Japanese government has begun considering suspending new entries of foreign nationals under business travel agreements with 11 countries and regions, including China and South Korea, in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

The suspension will be in place at least during Japan's state of emergency, which will start as early as Thursday and is expected to last for about a month.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday announced at a meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party's board of directors that he plans to make a decision on Thursday regarding the declaration for the state of emergency, which will cover Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba.

On Dec. 28, the Japanese government halted new entries of foreign nationals until the end of January in an effort to halt the spread of the new coronavirus variant that is growing more prevalent in the U.K. and other countries. But entry through the business travel arrangements with the 11 countries and regions was permitted as an exception.

Since the arrangements were bilateral agreements with each of the 11 countries and regions, the Foreign Ministry will coordinate with the government of the partner in deciding when to start the measure.

The government is also investigating whether there should be exemptions, such as medical professionals, who would still be allowed to enter Japan.

- Nikkei