Japan has no immediate plans to reopen its borders to foreign tourists, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday as the country braces for a possible resurgence of the coronavirus.
“No specific schedule has been decided,” Kishida said at a news conference, adding the government will make a decision after examining the COVID-19 infection situation and border control steps taken by other nations.
Japan, which has gradually relaxed its strict border controls, will allow up to 10,000 entrants a day, including business travelers, students, and returning Japanese nationals and foreign residents, starting Sunday.
But Kishida has warned that Japan is seeing signs of a coronavirus resurgence, calling for the public to cooperate in stemming the spread by taking thorough prevention measures, getting tested for the virus and receiving COVID-19 vaccine booster shots as early as possible.
On Friday, around 52,000 new infections were reported across Japan, increasing from a week earlier for the 14th consecutive day.
Tokyo reported 8,112 new cases, with those in their 20s accounting for 22% of the total, the highest rate among all age groups.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike stressed at a news conference the importance of younger people getting vaccinated to “break the chain of infection.”
Only 25.6% of those in their 20s in Tokyo had received their third COVID-19 vaccine booster shots as of Tuesday, compared with 44.4% for the capital’s population on a whole, according to the metropolitan government.
To encourage vaccinations, the metropolitan government has begun offering coupons and prizes to fully vaccinated individuals, including giving a higher chance for such individuals to win in a lottery to see twin giant pandas born last year at the Ueno Zoological Gardens.
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