In time for its summer season, Japan is looking into accepting foreign tourists again in June. This comes after the country imposed a travel ban in November to curb the spread of the highly transmissible COVID-19 Omicron variant.
Local media reported that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made the announcement on May 5 during his visit to London—in a move seen to boost their country's struggling tourism industry.
Quoting Kishida, Kyodo News said Japan will review its COVID-19 measures "in stages" after consulting with public health experts.
Japan is planning to conduct trials of limited tours for groups of visitors with COVID-19 booster shots.
It's also considering raising the daily entry quota from 10,000 individuals to 20,000. To date, only foreign businessmen and students are allowed entry, but the government is mulling over expanding categories, Nikkei Asia reported.
Kishida noted that they'll first assess the COVID-19 situation two weeks after the Golden Week, a series of national holidays closely spaced together: Shōwa Day (April 29), Constitution Day (May 3), Greenery Day (May 4), and Children's Day (May 5).
To date, over 86% of Japan's 125-million population has been vaccinated against COVID-19. Of the vaccinated individuals, over half of them have received their booster shots.
Japan has recorded over eight million COVID-19 cases and 29,000 deaths since the pandemic started.