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Coronavirus

Japan waives 14-day quarantine after business trips

Loosened rules apply to people returning from all countries, including US and Europe

Japan will lift entry bans against nine nations and territories, including China. (Photo by Kei Higuchi)

TOKYO -- Japan will exempt qualified business travelers who return after overseas trips lasting one week or less from a 14-day-quarantine requirement starting on Sunday.

The change, approved Friday by the country's coronavirus task force, applies to Japanese citizens and those holding residency status.

To gain the exemption, business travelers must have proof of a negative coronavirus test and submit a written itinerary of places to be visited upon returning. They will be restricted to traveling between work and home.

The government already rolled out exemptions for returnees from South Korea and Singapore. 

This latest quarantine exemption for business travelers applies to all nations and territories, including Vietnam, the U.S. and European countries, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Travelers are still required to obey quarantine measures at destinations while staying abroad.

Separately, the ministry on Friday lifted Level 3 advisories against all travel to nine nations and jurisdictions including China, South Korea, Vietnam and Australia. The warnings have been downgraded to Level 2 -- guidance to avoid nonessential travel -- because each place has managed to control the COVID-19 outbreaks within their borders.

The coronavirus task force on Friday decided to lift the entry ban against the nine nations and territories.

Japan has postponed a decision on loosening border controls for foreign business travelers. Officials are considering a provision that would broadly allow entry for such travelers who stay no more than three days, test negative for the virus and submit an itinerary.

The government will determine the timing for these measures and the countries to which they apply, especially given the wave of infections occurring in the U.S. and Europe.

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