Japan trails in easing travel restrictions for vaccinated

Nikkei -- Sep 19
Japan so far has refused to relax its 14-day quarantine request for travelers from overseas even as other major economies move to waive such requirements for the vaccinated.

Following a request from top business lobby Keidanren this month, Tokyo has signaled its intention to gradually ease the restrictions. It is considering shortening the quarantine duration but remains reluctant to waive it altogether.

Delays in easing travel restrictions have prevented business travelers from coming to Japan. Japanese professionals have also remained reluctant to go overseas because they face a 14-day quarantine upon returning. Keidanren is concerned about the impact on business.

The government began issuing vaccine passports in late July. The certificate is now accepted by more than 30 countries and regions. But the list does not include the U.S., a major destination for Japanese business travelers.

Other countries have made strides in resuming business travel. The U.K. will allow vaccinated travelers from 17 countries and regions, including Japan, Singapore and Taiwan, to skip a 10-day quarantine beginning next month.

Pre-travel COVID tests will also be waived for travelers from countries where infections are deemed under control. PCR tests after arrival will also be switched to rapid tests.