Japan's largest business lobby calls for lifting foreigner entry ban

Kyodo -- Jan 25
Japan's largest business lobby on Monday called on the government to lift the entry ban on nonresident foreigners aimed at keeping the Omicron variant of the coronavirus at bay and preventing its spread now that domestic infections are mostly being caused by the highly transmissible strain.

Masakazu Tokura, chief of the Japan Business Federation, said at a regular press conference that nearly two months of border restrictions have only hampered domestic companies from making business trips and having smooth negotiations with foreign partners on tie-ups, merges and acquisitions.

"It was a good decision to cast a wide net in the first place. But there is no point keeping the measure in place given Omicron has already become the dominant strain" in Japan, said the head of the business lobby, also known as Keidanren.

The anti-coronavirus entry ban has been in place since Nov. 30, the day when Japan confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant, and the government extended the measure earlier this month until the end of February.