The Japanese government plans to lift its ban on reentry of non-Japanese from 11 African countries. The restriction has been in place to keep out the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
South Africa, where Omicron was first identified, was included in the ban. Reentry by all foreigners from the 11 countries, including those with residency status in Japan, has been barred.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu told reporters on Tuesday that because of changes in the situation and the need for humanitarian consideration, the government will allow foreigners with residency status from those countries to reenter Japan.
Japan has also barred new foreign arrivals in principle from all countries as a coronavirus safety measure.
Matsuno added the government is considering how to handle foreign students who are nearing graduation or advancement to a higher grade.
He said that while new arrivals will be barred in principle, the government will respond flexibly on a case-by-case basis.