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(LEAD) S. Korea voices regret over Japan's entry ban

Diplomacy 20:33 April 01, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; ADDS details throughout; FIXES info at bottom)

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea expressed regret Wednesday over Japan's decision to ban the entry of people from the country to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Earlier in the day, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an entry ban on foreigners coming from 49 countries and territories, including South Korea, China and the United States.

Under the new measure, to be effective from Friday to the end of this month, those who had been staying in the designated places for two weeks will not be allowed to enter Japan.

This photo, taken on March 30, 2020, shows a departures board at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, west of Seoul. (Yonhap)

"It's regrettable that the Japanese government decided to impose an entry ban on travelers from all parts of South Korea even though our country is showing clear signs of improvement with the daily number of new coronavirus cases on steady decline," a foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

"Japan gave prior notice about the decision through a diplomatic channel on Sunday and we also expressed our regret then over its decision."

Japan already barred those arriving from South Korea's southeastern city of Daegu and several nearby counties that have reported large numbers of COVID-19 infections.

On Tuesday, Tokyo raised its travel warning for the 49 countries to Level 3, the second-highest level on a four-tier scale, calling for its nationals to suspend visits to those destinations.


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