African countries

Japan to ban foreign residents from returning from 10 African countries

The government will ban foreign residents from returning to Japan from 10 southern African countries from December 2 as a countermeasure against the Omicron variant of the new coronavirus.

Japanese nationals who have visited the same countries – South Africa, Angola, Eswatini, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Lesotho – will still be allowed to return but will have to undergo quarantine measures.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno’s announcement on December 1 followed a ban on further entry by foreigners from those countries after the heavily mutated variant of Omicron was first reported in South Africa.

“From the point of view of precautions, we will reject for the moment the return of foreigners with resident status, unless their circumstances are exceptional,” he said.

Although Japan banned the entry of foreigners from all over the world on November 30, some travelers may enter Japan on an exceptional basis if they are diplomats, in related fields or if they are relatives of Japanese residents.

Matsuno said the government will enforce these rules more strictly by carefully examining each case.

Foreign students who were granted full state scholarships were also allowed to enter Japan for public interest purposes.

Matsuno said the door was also closed to these students.

“We are responding quickly and flexibly depending on the spread of infections in other countries,” he said.

Japanese returnees from the 10 countries will continue to be required to self-quarantine at government-designated facilities for 10 days after arrival and for an additional four days at their homes or in a hotel.