After a long wait and a drip feed of leaks to the media, the announcement Thursday evening of an easing of Japan’s border restrictions brought relief to tens of thousands of students and researchers, as well as their institutions, who have had to contend with numerous disruptions to their lives, studies and careers while waiting to enter Japan.

They can now begin to turn their thoughts to the numerous preparations — quitting jobs, ending leases, purchasing tickets, saying goodbye to family and friends, and so on — that need to be made before their departure.

From the start of next month, Japan will ease its strict border policies, which have limited new entries by foreign nationals to just a few thousand over the past few months. Soon, non-Japanese looking to enter the country for purposes other than tourism will be granted entry, with the daily cap of people allowed to enter Japan also raised to 5,000 from 3,500 — a quota that includes Japanese citizens and returning foreign residents as well. Quarantine measures will also be relaxed for some travelers.