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S. Korea restricts entry for travelers from Japan Updated: 2020-03-07 13:25:15 KST


South Korea has decided to restrict entry for travelers coming from Japan -- a tit-for-tat move to Tokyo's restrictions on those from South Korea.
Seoul's 1st Vice Foreign Minister, Cho Sei-young, spoke at a briefing Friday evening.


"Starting 12AM March 9th, the visa-waiver program for Japanese nationals will be suspended and the visas already issued won't be valid. We could also ask for documents on health conditions when issuing visas later on."
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Also, Seoul is limiting airports where planes from Japan can land.
Plus, starting Monday, travelers from Japan will also have to go through a special entry procedure, just as those from China are required to.
There will be separate entry gates where their accomodation and contacts in South Korea will have to be confirmed.
Otherwise, they won't be able to enter the country.
Seoul is also raising its travel alert on the whole of Japan to Level 2, "Highly Cautious."


"We've considered the fact that there have been questions about Japan's own quarantine efforts. Foreign media have also reported that the number of cases tested in Japan is greatly lower than us and the situation there is far from transparent."
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Earlier in the day, South Korea's National Security Council blasted Japan's decision, citing that there had been no prior notice to Seoul on the restrictions.
South Korea considers Tokyo's entry restrictions excessive, given that Japan has sufficient quarantine capabilities unlike other countries that have implemented travel bans.
And it's also unfair, Seoul says, because South Korea has not barred any travelers from Japan.
Seoul summoned high-ranking Japanese envoys for two days in a row.
On Friday, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha herself saw the Japanese ambassador, Koji Tomita.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.
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