Japan releases plans to ease border controls

Travel bans on four countries to be lifted, Taiwan not included

Japan wants economic recovery and virus containment.  

Japan wants economic recovery and virus containment.   (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Japanese government is discussing measures to loosen the entry ban on business travelers and planning to waive quarantines on visitors from certain countries as long as they have submitted negative test results and provide a detailed itinerary.

The goal is to facilitate business travel and start reviving the economy. Partnering countries that Japan is discussing measures with are Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand, Nikkei reported.

Anyone wanting to enter Japan from the partnering countries needs to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, an accurate genetic test for the coronavirus, and provide the negative test results plus an itinerary to local Japanese embassies for the visas. The itinerary needs to list visitors' destinations and accommodations in Japan for the two weeks following their entry.

Japanese businesses that receive visitors also have to submit managing plans and proof to the authorities and explain their need to have foreign arrivals. Once the process is completed, visitors will not have to undergo a two-week quarantine.

However, they are not allowed to take public transportation, and the government will geolocate them through their smartphones to make sure they follow their itinerary. Those who do not follow regulations will face deportation, and the same regulation is likely to be required if people want to leave Japan for partnering countries.

According to Nikkei, whether more countries will be added will depend on the number of PCR tests that Japan can conduct each day, which is currently 5,000 to 6,000. However, the number of daily visitors from the first four partnering countries was more than 8,000 in 2018, including regular travelers.

Meanwhile, the number of daily travelers from Japan to the U.S., China, South Korea, and Taiwan that year was 30,000, which explains why these countries will remain excluded from the travel bubble before Japan can increase its virus testing capabilities.