Japan retracts new flight bookings ban after criticisms

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Japan says it has retracted a ban on new incoming international flight bookings to defend against the new variant of the coronavirus only a day after the policy was announced

TOKYO — Japan says it has retracted a ban on new incoming international flight bookings to defend against the new variant of the coronavirus only a day after the policy was announced.

The ministry said Thursday it has retracted the request after receiving criticisms from inside and outside the country that the ban was too strict.

The request had aimed to reduce Japan’s daily international arrivals to 3,500 from an earlier level of 5,000 to tighten border controls as the new variant spread around the world, officials said.

“The request, issued as an emergency precaution, triggered confusions,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters Thursday.

Japan has reported two cases of the omicron variant, which was first reported in South Africa last week.

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