Japan is planning to shorten the COVID-19 quarantine period for vaccinated businesspeople from overseas upon their arrival in the country to three days, possibly from next week, government officials said Tuesday.
The eased quarantine rules will apply to short-term business travelers upon their entry into or return to the country amid a continued fall in coronavirus infections nationwide, said the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Currently, travelers inoculated with approved vaccines are required to undergo a 10-day quarantine period upon entering the country, while a 14-day quarantine period applies to other arrivals.
Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has said the government will "review in stages" the nation's virus-related entry restrictions, as the county's vaccine rollout has progressed steadily and business circles have requested a relaxation of border controls to help the tourism sector.
Those inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. or AstraZeneca Plc, which have been approved by the government, will be eligible for the shorter quarantine period.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a press conference Tuesday that the government will consider whether to extend eligibility for the shorter quarantine period to people who have received other vaccines.
"We will take account of accumulated knowledge concerning the effectiveness of vaccines and border control steps in other nations," Matsuno said.
The entry of foreign students and technical trainees is also expected to resume. Schools and firms planning to accept them will be required to report in advance their planned movements in Japan and how they will be supervised to prevent the virus from spreading, the sources said.
Following an explosive virus resurgence and the spread of highly contagious variants, the government in January suspended the entry of foreigners including businesspeople in principle, only accepting individuals under "special circumstances," such as on humanitarian grounds or in the public interest.