TOKYO (REUTERS, XINHUA) - Japan is planning to remove a ban on overseas travel to China and 11 other countries and regions next month, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Thursday (Oct 8).
The 11 other countries and regions include Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia, the Yomiuri said.
The Japanese government, which currently bans travel to 159 countries and regions, will recommend that travellers refrain from unnecessary and non-urgent visits to those 12 countries and regions, the newspaper said.
According to the Nikkei, Japan plans to permit Japanese and foreign national business travellers with residency status to re-enter the country without having to isolate for two weeks.
The two-week self-quarantine measure will be waived for returning business travellers who submit an action plan. The travellers will also have to refrain from using public transit.
A final decision on the easier re-entry procedure is to come sometime this month, the Nikkei reported on Wednesday (Oct 7).
Japan is easing the isolation restriction to make it easier for employees to travel and to encourage the resumption of economic activity.
The government has been reviewing its entry and exit restrictions.
On Oct 1, it began allowing foreign nationals who plan to stay in Japan for three months or longer to enter the country. Japan eased entry restrictions into the country for foreigners, such as foreign medical professionals, teachers and others who are qualified for medium or long-term stays for three months or longer, as well as those travelling for business purposes for less than three months.
But entry is still being refused for tourists.
Before the new measure, an average of 2,000 foreign nationals were entering Japan each day.
On Wednesday, Japan and Australia agreed to promote negotiations for easing border restrictions that have been in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Japan's Foreign Ministry said.
Japan and South Korea resumed business travel between the two sides from Thursday (Oct 8). Under the bilateral agreement, travellers on short-term business trips will not be required to observe 14-day self-isolation periods if they test negative for the coronavirus and submit travel itineraries, among other preventive measures.
Expatriates and other long-term residents will be allowed to enter on condition that they remain in isolation for two weeks.
Singapore and Japan have launched a "residence track" for business executives and professionals who are work pass holders, in addition to an earlier reciprocal green lane catering mainly for short-term business travellers.
The "residence track" was to be done with the necessary public health safeguards in place, said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Sept 25.