Soon after Japan saw the first case of a new strain of the coronavirus, the government tightened border control measures for travelers from abroad to prevent further transmissions into the country.

In contrast to the initial stages of the pandemic, Japan has drawn a clear line between nonresident and resident foreign nationals, allowing all non-Japanese with residential permits to re-enter under similar conditions to those imposed on Japanese nationals.

But the announcement triggered a sense of deja vu for many non-Japanese residents, who until this fall remained deprived of access to their livelihoods and separated from families in or outside Japan.