Japan looks to resume issuing long-term business visas

Nikkei -- Nov 03
Japan will consider resuming issuance of long-term visas to foreign business travelers as coronavirus cases decline and other countries make progress on vaccinating their populations, Nikkei has learned.

The move would be part of a broader relaxation of travel curbs that will also include shorter quarantine periods for vaccinated visitors. These measures could be announced this week and are expected to be implemented as soon as early next week.

To qualify for a shorter quarantine, travelers must have received vaccines greenlighted for use in Japan: those from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. The many Southeast Asians who received Chinese-made shots and the 15 million Americans who took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, for example, will be stuck with the 14-day quarantine period for unvaccinated travelers.

Tokyo is scaling back an immigration clampdown that had been imposed in January in response to the emergence of more-contagious coronavirus variants. The focus on business travel aims to promote a return to economic normality.

Long-term business visas are often issued to managerial and medical professionals. Details such as which professions will be eligible for visas under the revised restrictions will be worked out by the government and the ruling coalition.

Companies receiving foreign nationals will be required to monitor their activities. The government is prepared to return to more stringent rules if domestic cases start to rise again.

This follows news Monday that the government plans to start letting in foreigners for short business trips, study abroad and technical training.

Technical interns are in high demand in fields such as agriculture and nursing care, which have pushed for Tokyo to loosen entry controls. Technical interns and foreign students accounted for about 70% of the 370,000 people who were unable to enter Japan despite having precertification for residency as of Oct. 1.

Despite the size of the queue, Japan will continue to limit the number of foreign nationals allowed in per day, to reduce the risk of a fresh wave of coronavirus cases. The current ceiling of 3,500 will be gradually raised to around 5,000.

新型コロナウイルスの水際対策を巡り、政府はビジネス目的での入国者に対し、自宅などでの待機期間を現在の10日から原則3日に短縮する方針を固めました。  国内での新規感染者が減少していることを受けて、茂木外務大臣は一定の条件を満たせば、水際措置を緩和する考えを示しました。  政府関係者によりますと、ビジネス目的の入国者については、ワクチン接種や検査での陰性確認に加え、企業による行動管理などを条件に、待機期間を現在の10日から3日に短縮します。  原則入国停止となっていた外国人留学生についても、大学などの行動管理を条件に入国を認める方針です。  これらの措置は、早ければ来週8日にも開始する見通しです。 - ANNnewsCH