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Japan's top COVID-19 adviser urges cautious pace in opening border

Shigeru Omi says booster shots could be used for elderly

Shigeru Omi, an immunologist who chairs Japan's coronavirus advisory panel, speaks during a discussion at the Nikkei FT Communicable Diseases Conference on Oct. 27 in Tokyo. (Photo by Yo Inoue)

TOKYO -- Japan's leading COVID-19 adviser calls for a cautious approach in reopening the country's border, despite the global trend to relax entry restrictions amid progress in vaccination coverage.

"There are still many countries in the world with many cases of infections," Shigeru Omi, an immunologist who heads the government's subcommittee on COVID-19 response, told Nikkei Asia in an interview Wednesday as he attended the two-day Nikkei FT Communicable Diseases Conference in Tokyo. "Other viruses come in if you suddenly loosen border control measures, so [we need to] watch carefully and [take steps] little by little."

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