Japan relaxing entry restrictions for foreign tourists

Japan is due to relax its border controls against the coronavirus pandemic as the country reopens to foreign tourists for the first time in about two years.

The move comes after Japan doubled the limit for daily arrivals from abroad to 20,000 on June 1.

The government divides countries into three groups. They are blue, yellow and red, based on the risk of infections.

Starting Friday, Japan will accept guided package tours from 98 "blue" countries and regions designated as low-risk in terms of COVID-19 infections. They include the United States, South Korea and Britain.

Visitors from the areas will be exempt from on-arrival testing and self-quarantine even if they have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Restrictions on people from other countries and regions will be unchanged. They will be allowed to enter Japan if the purposes of their visits are related to business or academic courses, but not sightseeing.

Visitors from 99 "yellow" countries and regions, including India and Vietnam, will be exempt from on-arrival testing and isolation only if they have received three vaccine shots.

Those from Pakistan and three other "red" countries will still be subject to both testing and isolation.

Regardless of country or region of departure, arriving passengers with high temperatures detected at airports will be required to undergo testing and self-quarantine at accommodations.

In addition to five international airports in Japan that have resumed accepting arrivals from foreign countries, New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido and Naha Airport in Okinawa are due to reopen to international flights this month.