Japan will continue to impose its strict Covid-19 border rules until the end of February, according to a report by Reuters. It currently limits entry to Japanese residents and bans entry of non-Japanese, including students and foreign family members of Japanese or permanent residents. Japan also puts its own citizens under strict restrictions upon entry.
Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida said that there will be exceptions on humanitarian grounds. “Thanks to the toughest border rules in the G7 nations, we’ve been able to keep the spread of Omicron to a minimal level, giving us time to prepare to deal with domestic infection,” Kishida was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters.
“We’ll maintain the current framework of measures until the end of February for the time being, while taking necessary measures from the perspective of humanitarian and national interests,” he further added.
The decision taken by the Japanese government was taken after Kishida’s meeting with health minister Shigeyuki Goto, minister for economic revival Daishiro Yamagiwa and the government’s chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno. Kishida also met Japan’s head of government panel on Covid-19 response Shigeru Omi who urged the government to hasten the administration of booster vaccine shots to the elderly populations as well as to those suffering from comorbidities, according to a report by the Japan Times.
Japan has vaccinated 79% of its population with both doses of Covid-19 vaccines, according to vaccination data published in Our World In Data. Kishida said Japan will start inoculating children above the age of 12 years but did not specify an exact start date for the drive. He, however, highlighted that the nation has decided to reopen large-scale vaccination centers to accelerate the administration of the third jab of Covid-19 vaccines.
Japan recorded 6,394 new cases and 2 new deaths on Tuesday, according to data released by worldometers.info. Tokyo, which reported most cases among the younger population, saw cases fall below 1,000 for the first time in two days. Okinawa Prefecture and Hiroshima Prefecture, which remain under quasi-emergency measures, also reported more than 500 cases on Monday.