TOKYO, Jan. 14 -- The Japanese government said Wednesday that it will fully suspend a scheme allowing foreigners from 11 economies including China and South Korea to enter Japan for business and other purposes, Jiji Press reported.
The suspension will continue until Feb. 7, when the ongoing state of emergency over the coronavirus epidemic in Japan is set to end.
Initially, the government planned to maintain the entry scheme for the 11 economies unless new coronavirus variants were found there.
The government has changed tack, however, due to pressure from the ruling parties and others to strengthen border controls.
"We take seriously the current situation in which the public is getting increasingly uneasy," Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.
"We've decided (on the suspension) in view of the need to remove any risks as a precaution," Suga said.
He denied delaying the judgment because of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, slated to be held in summer after a one-year postponement.
On Tuesday, many participants in Liberal Democratic Party meetings urged the government to suspend the entry scheme. A group of conservative LDP lawmakers submitted the recommendation that the government review the scheme and overseas travel alerts.
In a television program Friday, Suga said the scheme was kept available for foreigners from countries where infection risks were low, and that the government would immediately halt it for countries where any coronavirus variant cases were found.
Malaysian National News Agency
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