EU allows non-essential travel from Japan

The European Union has added Japan to a list of countries for which it recommends member nations to ease restrictions on non-essential travel.

The EU made the announcement on Thursday after reviewing the coronavirus situation in Japan.

The bloc is now urging member nations to gradually lift restrictions on travel from eight countries: Japan, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

Analysts say the EU is doing so in the hope of luring visitors during the upcoming tourist season.

Despite the recommendation, the EU says member states remain responsible for border control and that individual governments decide specific entry requirements, such as self-isolation and negative test results.

Starting next month, the EU plans to launch a bloc-wide certificate system for people who have received vaccines, tested negative or recovered from the virus.

Vaccine rollout programs have been picking up speed across the EU. As of Thursday, 46.3 percent of people aged 18 or older in the bloc have received at least one shot.