Japan to waive pre-departure COVID tests for some travelers

A MAN wearing protective face mask walks through red-colored wooden torii gates at the Nezu shrine in Tokyo, Japan, March 5, 2020. — REUTERS

TOKYO — Japan will waive pre-departure COVID-19 tests for vaccinated travellers to the country, but daily caps on entrants will remain in place, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday.

The requirement for tests will be lifted from Sept. 7, Mr. Kishida said. No decision has been made yet on a reported plan to raise a daily cap on inbound travellers from 20,000 to 50,000, he added.

“We will continue relaxing these measures gradually,” said Mr. Kishida, who addressed reporters online as he is recuperating from COVID at his official residence.

Japan has maintained some of the strictest pandemic border measures among major economies, requiring travellers to present a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of departure.

Mr. Kishida said in May that he wanted to bring Japan’s border measures more in line with those of other Group of Seven nations.

Japan in June opened up to tourists for the first time in two years, but requirements that they apply for visas and stick to guided, package tours have kept actual numbers of inbound visitors small.  — Reuters