China stopped issuing ordinary visas to Japanese citizens in connection with Tokyo’s “discriminatory” requirement for Chinese travelers to submit negative PCR tests, the Chinese Embassy in Japan said.
“Starting today, the embassy and consulates of the PRC [People’s Republic of China] in Japan are suspending the issuance of ordinary visas for Japanese citizens traveling to China,” a statement read.
The decision came after Japan announced stricter quarantine measures for those arriving from China on December 30. These include, in particular, mandatory COVID-19 testing and limiting to four the number of Japanese airports accepting Chinese flights.
Earlier on Tuesday, China also suspended the issuance of short-term visas to South Korean nationals after Seoul adopted a series of restrictive measures for those arriving from the country. China considers such requirements “discriminatory,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, adding that Beijing would take retaliatory measures.
In December, China’s government started to gradually ease its “zero tolerance” policy towards COVID-19 cases, which had been the strictest in the world for almost three years. On January 8, obligatory PCR testing and centralized isolation for people arriving in China were canceled.
At the same time, the country has faced an increase in COVID-19 infections, forcing a number of countries, including the United States, Italy, Japan, and South Korea to tighten measures against passengers arriving from China.