Japan to partially ease restrictions on travelers from China

The Japanese government will ease its COVID-19 border controls on travelers arriving from China starting Wednesday.

The government imposed tighter measures on travelers from China in December last year, after the number of infections of the coronavirus soared in the country.

The current measures require all visitors from China to be PCR tested upon their arrival, as well as to show proof of a negative test result.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu on Monday told reporters that starting on March 1, the mandatory testing will be switched to random testing of a limited number of people.

He said Japan will also do away with limiting arrivals of direct flights connecting with China to four major airports, including Tokyo's Haneda.

Matsuno cited the need to ease restrictions in stages, saying entrants from China will still be required to submit negative test results.

Asked why the government decided to ease its measures, Matsuno said the rate of travelers from China testing positive for the coronavirus continues to drop.

He said new border controls will be in place for the time being, and the government will respond in a flexible manner, while assessing China's coronavirus situation and also other countries' border controls.