Starting Tuesday, Japan is set to lift its entry restrictions on foreign residents, allowing those who left before the strict coronavirus curbs were imposed to return, and those planning to leave temporarily to proceed without fear of being locked out.

But the announcement last Friday sparked concerns that even legal residents may face deportation due to unclear and strict requirements that differ from those applied to residents with Japanese passports.

The revision came amid intensifying claims of unequal treatment from the international community and business groups, who say the restrictions have left hundreds of thousands of people unable to resume their livelihoods or travel to work or study.