Japan will close its borders to all foreigners, including business travelers and foreign students, from Tuesday in response to the spread of the Omicron Covid variant, prime minister Fumio Kishida has said.
The announcement sees Japan become the second country after Israel to close its borders amid fears that Omicron may be more transmissible than previous variants of the coronavirus.
“We are taking measures with a strong sense of urgency,” Mr Kishida said, adding that his government was tightening border controls due to the “rapid spread” of Omicron around the world.
Mr Kishida said Japan will go ahead with providing booster jabs to its vulnerable population, three-quarters of which is already fully vaccinated.
The new rules do not affect Japanese citizens and residents returning to the country. However, those coming back from a specified list of nations where the Omicron variant has been detected will have to quarantine in designated facilities.