Japan eases coronavirus border controls for travelers from China

Japan's government has eased its COVID-19 border controls on travelers arriving from China.

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

The measures required all visitors from China to be PCR tested upon arrival, and to show proof of negative pre-departure test results.

On Wednesday, the mandatory testing was switched to random testing of a limited number of people. But travelers are still required to show proof of negative pre-departure test results, as the government plans to ease controls in phases.

Under the new measure, up to 20 percent of passengers on direct flights from mainland China are subject to testing.

Travelers who arrived at Narita Airport near Tokyo on Wednesday afternoon via a direct flight from Shanghai were not subject to testing, so they immediately headed for the immigration area.

A Chinese man who planned to go skiing in Hokkaido said many people in China want to visit Japan, so it's good that the border controls have been eased.

A company employee who temporarily returned home from Shanghai said he had expected immigration procedures to take time, but was able to get through them smoothly. He said he had worked mainly online but some tasks need in-person contact, so he welcomes the new measure for making his travel easier.