Japan’s prime minister Yoshihide Suga is set to make a decision this week on new restrictions to curb the spread of a new Covid-19 variant.
By declaring a state of emergency, the move will likely include measures such as cutting off reciprocal business travel agreements with 11 countries and regions, such as China, Singapore, and South Korea, according to Nikkei Asia.
Japanese citizens and foreigners residing in the country are expected to be exempt.
Last month, the world’s third largest economy halted the issuance of new visas to foreign visitors as a new Covid-19 variant began to spread in the UK and other countries. However, business travel agreements were spared from the new restrictions at the time.
“If a variant is found in the other country, [entry] will be stopped immediately,” said Suga, according to Nikkei Asia.
Chinese and Vietnamese nationals have accounted for the majority of inbound traffic under the business travel agreements, according to the country’s immigration bureau.
In December, All Nippon Airways launched a new route to Shenzhen, a technology hub in Southern China, in response to passenger and cargo demand.
The country was also contemplating whether to ease border restrictions for foreign tourists from lower-risk countries in spring 2021, but it appears that this plan is now in jeopardy.