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Japan will take flexible approach on entry ban, COVID-19 minister says


The government will “respond flexibly” regarding entry restrictions for foreign nationals aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 infections, Daishiro Yamagiwa, the minister in charge of the government’s response to the pandemic, said on Friday, suggesting that the rules could be relaxed.

Asked during a lower house committee session whether the government was considering allowing foreigners, including technical trainees, to enter the country, Yamagiwa said the government was already considering it, adding that the the basic framework currently in place would be maintained until at least the end of February – but there are ways around this.

Broadcaster TBS reported that the government will present a policy on whether to ease the entry ban as early as next week.

On Thursday, Taro Kono, the former vaccines minister and a key official in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said he hoped the country’s tight border restrictions, which are the tightest among wealthy Group of Seven countries , may be eased from March.

With borders closed for nearly two years, the lives of students, researchers and workers have been turned upside down, prompting business leaders to warn of the possible economic impact, especially in a tight labor market.