The Japanese government announced this weekend that it will be suspending foreign entry into Japan (with certain exceptions) from December 28, 2020 until the end of January 2021. The blanket ban is a precaution against a new and potentially more contagious coronavirus variant that has spread across Britain.
The Foreign Ministry of Japan indicated in a statement on Saturday, December 26 that for the time being, the ban will be maintained through January 31, 2021. Japan banned entry of nonresident foreigners from Britain and South Africa last week, but broadened the ban to encompass all foreigners on Saturday after confirming the new variant in seven people over the previous two days, including five returnees from Britain who tested positive at airports and two others in Tokyo.
Japan is also suspending exemptions of a 14-day quarantine for Japanese nationals and resident foreigners on a short-track program that began in November. The entrants now must carry proof of a negative test 72 hours prior to departure for Japan and self-isolate for two weeks after arrival, the ministry said.
According to media reports, Japan had 217,312 cases as of Saturday, up more than 3,700 from the day before, and 3,213 deaths.