China resumes granting visas for Japanese nationals
Japanese citizens will once again be able to get Chinese visas, Beijing said, reversing a previous ban over COVID testing China had slammed as "discriminatory."
The Chinese government on Sunday said it would resume granting visas for Japanese citizens. "Starting today, the Embassy and the Offices of the Consulates-General of the People's Republic of China will resume issuing ordinary visas for Japanese citizens," a statement posted online by the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo said.
China had stopped the issuing of ordinary visas for Japanese nationals from January 10. The ban was prompted by Tokyo saying it would require COVID-19 testing for travellers from mainland China.
Travelers coming from China into Japan will need a negative test in the 72 hours before boarding their flight, with Chinese visitors subject to further testing upon arrival.
China has labelled the COVID-19 testing policy by Japan "discriminatory," and said it believes COVID measures should be "science-based." Yet the Japanese government defended the move, due to the high number of infections in China and lack of transparency coming from Beijing.
China's easing of COVID policies raise concerns in Japan, South Korea
China began lifting its zero-COVID policies in December, with most border restrictions being removed on January 8. This prompted fears among China's Asian neighbours such as Japan and South Korea that a surge of inbound Chinese travellers would cause a rise of infections in their countries.
Japan and South Korea are popular tourist destinations for mainland Chinese.
China has not yet announced whether it will resume the issuing of visas for South Koreans. South Korea also implemented similar COVID-19 measures towards mainland China arrivals as Japan.