TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan plans to ease COVID 19-related border restrictions by lifting its entry ban for foreign nationals from 106 countries including the United States, Britain and France on Friday, the government said.
Tokyo has been gradually relaxing pandemic-induced curbs but the loosened border regime does not mean a full reopening to tourists.
The foreign ministry said in an update on Wednesday that foreigners from the 106 countries would not be subject to denial of permission to enter Japan from Friday, but foreigners with tourist purposes were still not allowed into the country.
Japan closed its borders to most foreign travellers from the early days of the pandemic in 2020 and only recently accepted a trickle of students and business people into the country. Many other developed countries have reopened to tourists.
After the planned lifting, Japan will still keep its doors closed to 56 countries, another government statement said.
The government has said it will raise the daily quota on overseas visitors to Japan to 10,000 this month, from 7,000.
(Reporting by Kantaro Komiya, Ju-min Park writing by Kiyoshi Takenaka; editing by Jason Neely and Mark Heinrich)