Japan will relax border restrictions for some foreigners, including Americans.

Japan announced on Wednesday that it would ease restrictions on travelers from 106 countries – including Britain, France, Germany, India and the United States – who want to enter for business or long-term reasons.

A statement from Japan’s foreign ministry’s website said that since Friday, citizens of countries “for tourism purposes” will not be denied entry. Authorized countries do not include China or Australia.

Japan maintains strict control of its borders throughout the epidemic. With the notable exception of China, most of its Asian neighbors have already relaxed their travel bans. Japan’s relative caution has proved politically popular, and analysts say it is unlikely to change significantly before parliamentary elections in July.

Since the onset of the epidemic, at least 1 in 19 inhabitants of Japan has been infected with the coronavirus, a much lower proportion than other industrialized nations. More than 28,000 have died, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

The head of Japan’s tourism agency, Koichi Wada, told parliament last month that “it is extremely difficult to predict long-term trends for inbound tourism.”

Other developments in the world:

  • Spain Health Minister Carolina Darius said Wednesday that the need for indoor masks, excluding public transport, hospitals and nursing homes, would be removed. The change will take effect on April 20, just after Easter, when large parties usually gather. Ms Darius said the government would continue to recommend “wearing a mask with responsibility”, especially in crowded places. The lifting of one of Spain’s remaining coronavirus restrictions reflects what Ms. Darius called “a favorable environment” in the country, which now accounts for only 3.5 percent of hospital admissions. Last month, Spain lifted the isolation requirement for people who have been infected with the coronavirus but have mild or no symptoms.

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