Starting from September, Japan will loosen its widely criticized entry restrictions on travelers from abroad, allowing all its foreign residents with a legal residence status to travel freely and thus enabling those seeking re-entry to the country to return, government officials said Friday. However, travel will be subject to some conditions, including pre-entry tests for COVID-19.

The government also said that it is working to speed up the issuance of new visas to let in some businesspeople who were unable to enter due to the entry restrictions.

The government decided Friday to lift strict re-entry restrictions on foreign nationals with a legal residence status in Japan, which were introduced April 3 as a preventive measure aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. The revised policy will enable all foreign residents to re-enter the country after notifying immigration authorities about their travel plans.