Japan eased on Thursday (2) the restrictions imposed on airlines to suspend new reservations for flights to the country, and allowed the return of its citizens, one day after announcing the general suspension in order to contain the variant covid-19 omicron.
The Transport Ministry said on Wednesday it had asked airlines not to accept bookings for flights to Japan for a month, an unexpected move affecting its nationals and resident foreigners.
On Thursday, government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno announced changes to the measure.
“This request caused confusion among those affected, so the prime minister instructed the Ministry of Transport to look into the matter and consider the needs of Japanese citizens who want to return home,” he told reporters.
As a result, the ministry “asked airlines to cancel the general suspension of new bookings for international flights.”
Japan respected tough border restrictions throughout the covid-19 pandemic, preventing virtually all foreign arrivals.
The country began to ease the rules in October to allow the entry of some students and businessmen, but reversed the measure given the emergence of the omicron variant.
Japan also banned the entry of foreigners from 10 countries in southern Africa.
Currently, those who arrive in Japan must respect a 14-day isolation at home. Travelers from countries considered to be at risk must spend 10 to 14 days in quarantine at a facility designated by the government.
About 77% of the Japanese population is immunized. The country began applying the booster dose on Wednesday.
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