Japan is clearly taking steps to prepare for a reopening to foreign tourists — not just the gradual border easing that will take place next month. But the country's refusal to include vaccines developed by Chinese makers is a sign Japan isn't expecting visitors from China anytime soon.
Japan said on Thursday international travellers showing proof of a Covid-19 vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson shot would be allowed in and be eligible for a shorter time in quarantine when border controls are eased next month.
The J&J shot, which has not been approved in Japan, will join a list of three other shots that have been approved by regulators as sufficient for non-residents to enter, after a nearly two-year ban on such travellers.
The other approved vaccines on a list that the foreign ministry released on Thursday are the ones developed by Pfizer Inc, Moderna Inc, and Astrazeneca Plc.
Vaccines developed by Chinese and Russian makers are not included.
From March 1, authorities will raise the number of people allowed in to Japan to 5,000 a day, from 3,500, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters last week. The easing applies to students, workers, and other visa holders, but not to tourists for the time being.
The quarantine period will be reduced to three days in some conditions, from seven, and it will be waived entirely depending on the traveller’s point of origin, and if they have had a booster shot.
(Reporting by Rocky Swift Editing by Robert Birsel)
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Photo credit: Fushimi Inari Taisha, a major shrine in Kyoto, could be seeing more foreign visitors soon wongwt / Wikimedia Commons