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Coronavirus

Japan to let in foreign workers and students starting this month

Loosening of COVID border controls follows pressure at home and abroad

Narita Airport near Tokyo looks empty. Japan has in effect banned entry by foreign nationals for nearly two years. (Photo by Arisa Moriyama)

TOKYO -- Japan will ease a near-ban on foreign arrivals this month, gradually allowing in more business travelers and students, Nikkei has learned, as frustration mounts with stringent curbs that have kept people out of the country for as much as two years.

The tougher border controls implemented in late November in response to the omicron coronavirus variant are now set to end March 1 after multiple extensions. Prior to that, the government plans to start accepting more than 1,000 people a day, and gradually raise the cap to several thousand.

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