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Japan business lobby seeks to end quarantine for vaccinated arrivals

Masakazu Tokura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, known as Keidanren, speaks to reporters after his meeting with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, on June 3, 2021. (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's largest business lobby on Monday called for the government to promptly consider exempting overseas arrivals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from quarantine while also shortening the current 14-day quarantine period to a maximum of 10 days.

    The proposals, which urge the government to be proactive in restarting economic and social activities once the recent resurgence of the coronavirus has abated, were submitted by Masakazu Tokura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

    The business lobby, better known as Keidanren, also suggested not limiting the treatment of COVID-19 patients to only designated hospitals and clinics and allowing drugstores to sell simple antigen test kits approved by the health ministry.

    "More than 80 percent of the population will be fully vaccinated within the next two months. If the rate of severe cases is sufficiently reduced, the focus will be on striking a balance between measures against the spread of the virus and socioeconomic activities," Tokura said at a press conference.

    In a similar development, a set of proposals for measures when the vaccination rate goes up were compiled by the government's COVID-19 advisory panel on Friday.

    They recommend combined proof of COVID-19 vaccination and negative test results for those wishing to visit hospital patients and nursing homes, travel across prefectures or attend large-scale events.

    The government is considering allowing restaurants to serve alcohol again even in areas under a COVID-19 state of emergency if sufficient steps are taken to prevent infections.

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