Japan announced on Wednesday that it would ease restrictions for travelers from 106 countries — including Britain, France, Germany, India and the United States — who wish to enter for business reasons or for a long-term stay.
Beginning Friday, except for those with “touristic purposes,” citizens of the countries “will not be subject to denial of permission to enter,” according to a statement on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. The approved nations do not include China or Australia.
Japan has maintained tight control of its borders throughout the pandemic. Most of its Asian neighbors have already eased their travel restrictions, with the significant exception of China. Japan’s relative caution has proved politically popular, and analysts say this is unlikely to change substantially before a parliamentary election in July.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, at least 1 in 19 residents of Japan have been infected with the coronavirus, a far lower proportion than in many other industrialized countries. There have been more than 28,000 deaths, according to figures from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.