Japan to lift all Covid-19 border controls on April 29

Japan will end its Covid-19 border controls for all people arriving in the country on Saturday, with an influx of travellers expected during the Golden Week string of holidays, the government said Friday. Currently, visitors to Japan are required to present certification proving they’ve had at least three vaccinations or evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours, Xinhua news agency reported. But Japan’s top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, told a news conference that these prerequisites to enter the country will no longer be required for people arriving from Saturday onwards. Controversial, so-called randomized Covid tests, will also be scrapped, the government said. Japan had initially aimed to fully lift its border protocols on May 8, the same day that the legal status of Covid will be downgraded to the same as that of seasonal influenza. Matsuno said the decision to end the border requirements earlier was to cater to numerous travellers who will travel overseas during the Golden Week period starting this weekend. As for the downgrading of Covid, when it comes into effect on May 8, the virus will no longer be in a special category equivalent to or stricter than Class 2 but will be categorised among Class 5 diseases like seasonal influenza.