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The government plans to prioritize businesspeople and experts when it comes to easing its entry restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The government has started considering easing the curbs in stages from this summer, first for people from such regions as the United States and Asia, after it fully lifted its state of emergency over the virus crisis Monday, government sources said Wednesday.

It hopes to accept businesspeople first because the government is aiming to revitalize the domestic economy, which has been hurt by the fallout from the pandemic, as early as possible.

Meanwhile, the government will carefully consider relaxing restrictions for tourists, who tend to travel in wide areas, in order to prevent the virus from spreading again in Japan, the sources said.

“We will ease the entry restrictions for people necessary for business operations, as well as experts, in the first stage, and then for foreign students,” Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told a meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense in the Upper House on Tuesday.

After a while, the entry curbs will be relaxed for the general public, including tourists, he said.

Japan’s entry ban linked to the pandemic currently covers 110 countries and one region.

The scope of areas subject to the relaxed restrictions will be expanded gradually. The government is considering accepting businesspeople and experts first from the United States, China and South Korea, in view of Japan’s strong economic relations with these countries, and from Australia, where the coronavirus outbreak has subsided, the sources said.

European and Latin American countries may be added to the list later depending on the situations in those nations, the sources said.

Meanwhile, a government official pointed out that although the situation in the United States has yet to stabilize, Tokyo wants to ease the entry restrictions first for that country.

The period for implementing its coronavirus-related border control measures, such as invalidating visas, has been extended until the end of June, from the originally scheduled end of this month.

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