Japan to maintain entry ban on nonresident foreign nationals

Japan Times -- Mar 20
Despite the COVID-19 state of emergency for Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures no longer being in effect from Monday, strict entry restrictions at airports and ports will continue to be in place, with no indication of when they will be eased.

On Thursday, the government announced it would extend its blanket travel ban on all new entries for foreign nationals — including foreign students, academic researchers and business people using reciprocal business travel programs — reflecting concerns about the spread of new and more contagious coronavirus variants.

The government is planning to allow entry of up to around 2,000 people per day, coordinating with airlines to ensure flights are not oversubscribed.

“We need to make a careful decision based on infection situations both at home and abroad,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said during a parliamentary committee meeting Thursday.

At present, only Japanese and foreign nationals with a valid residency status are allowed to re-enter the country, while nonresident foreign nationals with "special exceptional circumstances” can be granted permission. Those special cases include medical or other emergencies and exceptional situations such as childbirth or a funeral of a relative.

Starting Monday, the government will expand the list of such special circumstances to cover spouses and children of Japanese and foreign residents who have been separated from their families. People whose re-entry permission expired during their stay abroad, foreign health workers intending to work at medical institutions, university professors and instructors, and some people planning to relocate to Japan for work will also be allowed to enter Japan.

- Japan Times