TOKYO, Dec 6 — Almost 89 per cent of Japanese have backed the government’s decision to halt the issuance of business and student visas to foreign nationals since the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant, Sputnik reported the findings of a public opinion poll published by the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.
At the start of December, the country’s government announced the temporary suspension of long- and short-term visas to foreign nationals in a bid to minimise the spread of the Omicron variant.
The government’s decision was criticised by just 8 per cent of the poll’s respondents.
Against this backdrop, overall support for the country’s government has increased to 62 per cent from 56 per cent last month.
This is not the first time that the country has suspended the issuance of visas to foreign nationals during the pandemic. In December last year, the country imposed a ban on the issuance of new visas and closed the entry to almost all foreigners, except for holders of residence permits and long-term visas.
Omicron was first detected in South Africa and labelled as a variant of concern due to its high infection rates by the World Health Organisation, prompting countries worldwide to enforce new travel restrictions and public health measures.
On Nov 30, Japan confirmed its first Omicron case.