The Japanese government said Monday it will ease quarantine rules for people entering the country who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 starting Oct. 1, shortening the required period for self-isolating at home from 14 days to 10 days.
People who have been fully vaccinated will be able to go outside as long as they test negative for the virus after 10 days following their arrival, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a press conference.
Only shots developed by Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. or AstraZeneca Plc are eligible, and a "vaccine passport" either issued in or recognized by Japan is required.
People traveling from some countries including Britain and India that Japan sees as having a heightened risk of introducing coronavirus variants had needed to spend the first three of the 14 days in a government-designated facility, but will no longer be required to do so if they are fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Japan will tighten quarantine rules for travelers from nine countries, who will now need to spend the first six of the 14 days in a government-designated facility with no exemptions for those that have gotten both of their shots.
The countries are Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, the Philippines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.
Japan currently does not allow the entry of foreign nationals in principle, with arrivals mostly limited to Japanese citizens and foreign nationals already living in the country.
Kato said the relaxed quarantine rules were the first in a series of steps in "a review of our border measures."
"Going forward, we will consider allowing entry depending on the COVID-19 situation abroad, while taking steps including restrictions on movement and testing," he said.