Japan is contemplating reopening in spring 2021 to a limited number of foreign tourists from lower-risk countries. The trial is expected to give a boost to its battered tourism industry ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, according to The Asahi.

While restrictions have eased for foreign business travellers in recent months, leisure travellers remain barred from Japan over fears of further outbreaks. In October, the number of foreign visitors declined 99 per cent year-on-year, according to Japan’s tourism authority.

“We fear that we may not be able to hold the Olympics and Paralympics if the coronavirus spreads in Japan following the arrival of foreign tourists,” said a senior government official, according to The Asahi.

As part of the plan, small group tours from locations such as China and Taiwan may be allowed to visit the country without a 14-day quarantine. Precautionary measures include requiring use of private transport, such as chartered buses, and temperature checks by tour operators. 

The country may also require proof of negative tests and travel insurance to be purchased prior to arrival, alongside detailed itineraries and use of contact tracing apps.

Despite the pandemic, the Japanese government plans to keep its target of 60 million foreign visitors by 2030.