- Japan will soon start requiring a negative COVID test upon arrival for travelers from China.
- China recorded an estimated 250 million COVID infections in December, per leaked Chinese official notes.
- Japan only recently reopened its borders to tourists in October.
As China’s COVID cases soar, Japan is preparing to roll out special requirements for travelers arriving from mainland China.
On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that all travelers coming into Japan from China will be required to produce a negative COVID test upon arrival, reported Reuters. Those who test positive will have to quarantine for a week in a designated facility.
“Concern has been growing in Japan as it is difficult to grasp the detailed situation,” Kishida said, per local news agency Kyodo News.
Kishida also said Toyko will be implementing a cap on the number of inbound flights from China.
The updated regulations are to be implemented from midnight on December 30, per Kishida’s announcement.
The announcement comes as China struggles to keep up with its COVID cases, and mere months after Japan reopened its borders for travel.
On December 7, China announced it would be reversing the zero-COVID restrictions that had kept most of the country under multi-year pandemic lockdowns. The reversal came after mass protests swept across every major Chinese city starting in late November.
However, vaccine hesitancy remains pronounced in China, especially among the vulnerable elderly population. The country’s reopening has been followed by a massive spike in COVID cases that has seen hospitals, morgues, and crematoriums strained beyond capacity. An estimated 250 million COVID infections were recorded in China in December alone, according to reports citing leaked Chinese health official notes.
Chinese officials previously downplayed the surging cases in the country, making it difficult for experts to determine how many people have died from the virus. In December, China also narrowed its definition of a COVID-related death, limiting the official death count only to those who have died from pneumonia or respiratory failure.
On December 25, China announced that it plans to stop publishing daily figures for COVID cases and deaths, according to AFP, citing the National Health Commission.
Japan only recently started welcoming back foreign travelers. On October 11, the country reopened its borders after nearly three years of pandemic-related restrictions. All travelers need to produce vaccination records or negative COVID test results. But, as AFP reported, only travelers displaying symptoms — and now, anyone traveling in from China — are required to test upon arrival.