Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday night the government will temporarily suspend an arrangement allowing business travelers from 11 Asian countries and regions to enter Japan, effectively banning the entry of nonresident foreign travelers.

At a news conference, Suga explained that the government had changed its position to temporarily halt all business travel as new COVID-19 infections spread domestically, saying that additional steps needed to be taken at borders to prevent new coronavirus variants from entering the country.

“To protect people's lives and livelihoods, and to remove potential risks (over the pandemic), I have decided to temporarily suspend” the entry of foreign business travelers, Suga said.