Japan said it would allow short-term business travelers and foreign laborers to enter the country, responding to calls from companies that said they feared falling behind the West.

The decision followed a sharp fall in new infections in Japan, which is reporting only a few hundred new Covid-19 cases a day. More than 70% of the population is fully vaccinated.

The loosening up puts Japan closer to the rules in the U.S. and Europe, while heightening the contrast with China, which has stuck to a zero-Covid policy and severely restricted entry by foreigners.

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