- Özgür Töre
The Japanese government on Wednesday protested Beijing's decision to suspend visa issuance to Japanese citizens after Japan demanded negative COVID-19 tests from Chinese visitors arriving in the country.
“It is extremely regrettable that China is restricting issuing visas for reasons besides novel coronavirus countermeasures,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference in Tokyo.
After lodging protest through diplomatic channels, Tokyo urged Beijing to “repeal the measure that is seen as retaliation for Tokyo adopting tighter COVID-19 entry restrictions,” Kyodo News reported.
Doubling down on “countermeasures” against these restrictions, Beijing on Wednesday suspended the issuance of port visas and the 72/144-hour visa-free transit policy for South Korean and Japanese citizens.
Beijing also suspended granting short-term visas to South Korean nationals for visits, business, tourism, medical, transit, and general personal reasons “until discriminatory entrance restrictions against China were lifted.”
Beijing has imposed the travel restriction on Japan and South Korea after several countries imposed restrictions, including requiring negative COVID-19 tests for travelers from China entering these countries.
Aside from these two countries, several countries also imposed restrictions on travelers arriving from China, including a requirement for negative COVID-19 test results.
China dumped its "zero-COVID" policy on Sunday, allowing full international travel. On the first day of resuming full international travel, China welcomed approximately 251,045 travelers.
However, the world's largest populated nation has seen an uptick in daily virus cases.