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Japan to lower overseas travel alert


The Japanese government is considering lowering its overseas travel alert for the coronavirus pandemic, government sources said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s administration aims to pave the way for a full resumption of cross-border travel as it hopes to balance the fight against COVID-19 with allowing for social and economic activities, the sources said.

In March, the Foreign Ministry raised the alert to Level 2, advising Japanese nationals to avoid nonessential overseas travel.

With the alert, the ministry sought to prevent Japanese nationals visiting overseas from becoming stranded and unable to return home due to border control measures in other countries hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The ministry now believes that such situations are less likely to happen as an increasing number of countries are easing movement restrictions, the sources said.

The ministry’s nonbinding travel alert has four levels. Level 1 calls for exercising caution, Level 2 for avoiding nonessential travel, Level 3 for avoiding all travel, and Level 4 for immediate evacuation and avoidance of all travel.

Depending on local coronavirus situations, the ministry will consider lowering or removing the alert.

The ministry also has a four-level advice and warnings system on infectious diseases. It will consider lowering the alert to Level 2 from 3 for some countries and regions, the sources said.

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