Japan Raises Daily Entry Cap to 7,000 With Foreign Students Given Priority

By Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.
March 4, 2022 Updated: March 4, 2022

Japan will raise the daily limit of arrivals from overseas from the current 5,000 to 7,000 from March 14 onwards, further relaxing the COVID-19 border measures with foreign students given priority, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday.

Kishida said that the government will launch a new scheme that will allow 1,000 foreign students to enter Japan on weekdays, as he acknowledged that many overseas students are concerned about the entry restrictions ahead of the start of school in April.

“We will help students come to Japan by giving them [use of] vacant seats, especially on weekdays when there are not many business travelers,” he was quoted saying by local media Kyodo News.

The Japanese government has been suspending new arrivals of foreign visitors since Nov. 30, 2021, to contain the spread of the Omicron variant, adopting the strictest border control measures among the Group of Seven developed economies nations.

The Immigration Services Agency of Japan claimed that more than 400,000 people eligible for visas had been denied entry into the country as of Jan. 4. Of those, about 152,900 are students pursuing study in Japan.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Monday that the government will gradually increase international traffic by reviewing “infection situations in Japan and abroad, as well as the demand of Japanese nationals returning.”

Japan has previously lifted its entry ban on foreign nationals and raised the maximum daily number of entrants to 5,000, which took effect on Tuesday, but foreign tourists remain barred from entering the country.

The Foreign Ministry stated that all entrants will be subject to a seven-day home quarantine, but the quarantine requirement may be lifted if the third-day test result comes out negative.

Travelers who have completed their third vaccination shots, and are arriving from countries where the outbreak is under control, may be exempted from quarantine, it added.

Meanwhile, the government has placed 31 of Japan’s 47 total prefectures under a quasi-state of emergency to curb the spread of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.

Kishida announced Thursday that the government will extend the quasi-emergency measures in Tokyo and 17 additional prefectures until March 21, citing the high rate of hospital bed occupancy in the areas.

“The occupancy rate of hospital beds remains high and we decided to make a judgment with caution after listening to the voices of the local governments,” the prime minister said.

Under a quasi-state of emergency, governors are allowed to shorten business hours and limit the serving of alcohol in the prefectures.

Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.