With thousands of students awaiting entry, Japan to increase daily arrival cap to 7,000

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Japan plans to raise the daily limit of people allowed to enter the country to around 7,000 from the current 5,000, government sources said on Wednesday.

Foreign nationals planning to attend schools in Japan will be accepted regardless of the limit, as many students are waiting to enter the country before the start of the school year in April, the sources said.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to announce the further easing of border control measures related to COVID-19 at a press conference on Thursday.

The plan comes after the government on Tuesday lifted its ban on new entries by foreign nationals for purposes other than tourism, while also raising the daily limit to 5,000 from 3,500. The ban had been in place since November to contain the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant.

Still, there have been criticisms that it will take too long for Japan to admit the estimated 400,000 foreign nationals waiting to enter the country, especially the 100,000 international students waiting to enter. The government plans to start accepting these students in mid-March.

“We will open the borders in stages,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“For the national interest, it is better to open our borders. We need to increase the number of people entering or returning to Japan,” a senior government official said.

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