Japan has not had a great year. Even compared to other countries, Japan’s businesses and economy was struck by particularly bad luck in 2020. COVID-19 has caused unprecedented damage to the island nation’s business flow, and the road to recovery will be an arduous one.
2020 was supposed to be the year that Japan hosts the Olympic games. As such, thousands upon thousands of SMEs and larger corporations were gearing up for a boom in business. However, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has dashed those aspirations, at least for now.
However, Nikkei Asia has recently revealed that Japan now plans to gradually lift overseas travel alerts in October in a bid to spur the removal of entry restrictions implemented in other countries.
According to Nikkei, the Japanese government is currently planning to prioritise 10 countries and regions with low numbers of new COVID infections. These nations include New Zealand, Australia, and Vietnam. However, the decision on whether to accept travellers from Japan will ultimately be up to those respective governments. Japan hopes that the lifting of alerts to these countries will serve as an incentive to do so.
The resumption of free travel between Japan and other nations would be a massive boon for the country; especially its tourism industry. Japan has always been a prime tourist destination, allowing the tourism industry to contribute a significant portion towards the nation’s GDP.
As of recently, Japan has placed 159 countries and regions, including China and the U.S., at a level “3” alert level, which urges Japanese nationals to avoid traveling to those areas for any reason.
Beginning next month, Japan will lower its warning level to “2” for countries with few infections as a proportion of the total population in the last two weeks. Level 2 advises Japanese nationals to avoid nonessential travel. Australia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Brunei, and Belgium will likely be included on the list. A two-week quarantine, however, will be required upon return to Japan.
Starting on Oct. 1, the government will allow the entry of foreigners with permission to stay in the country for more than three months. The easing could also cause other countries to begin accepting travellers from Japan.