ANKARA 

Japan plans to start allowing a limited number of foreign travelers as part of a gradual move towards normalization after its months-long COVID-19 state of emergency, local media reported on Thursday.

Authorities may begin allowing 250 travelers per day from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Vietnam, Kyodo News reported, citing government sources.

Japan, which has an entry ban on 111 countries and regions, chose the four specific countries due to “strong” economic ties and “because they have the outbreak under control,” the report said.

Priority will be given to businesspeople such as executives and engineers, while other details of the plan are being finalized by Japanese authorities, it added.

A total of 181 countries and regions, including Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Vietnam, have imposed some kind of travel restrictions on Japan, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The report said easing of travel restrictions with the countries identified is expected to be mutual and discussions are being held to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus.

Japan, which has recorded 17,251 cases to date, including 919 deaths and 15,298 recoveries, imposed a nationwide state of emergency in April and lifted it at the end of May.

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