Immigration authorities have said they will allow foreign nationals whose re-entry permits and visas have expired while they were abroad to return to Japan.

The Justice Ministry announced on its website earlier this week that non-Japanese residents who left Japan before the end of August but were unable to return before the period of validity of their re-entry permits expired, would also be able to seek re-entry under special circumstances described as humanitarian reasons.

On Tuesday, the government relaxed its entry restrictions for foreign nationals with valid statuses of residency in the nation, allowing them to travel abroad and re-enter the country. However, the news sparked concerns that people whose visas or re-entry permission had expired during the pandemic may not be allowed to return until Japan entirely lifts its entry restrictions on travelers from abroad.