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  • Writer's pictureKyoto Localized

When Will Japan Open Borders?

Updated: Oct 31, 2020

Japan has started lifting the travel ban on 159 countries and regions. The government has also begun discussing possible easing of travel restrictions for foreign residents and business travelers from several countries. But the question now is: when will Japan open its borders for everyone else?

Japan Lifts Travel Ban for Select People

All foreign residents, expatriates, international talents, and students from 159 countries and regions had already been allowed to reenter Japan. Travelers with no Japanese passports but have dependent visas need entry clearance on top of a list of other requirements.

Everybody else needs to apply for a visa and meet the requirements set by Immigration. On top of this, sponsors and local employers will face more requirements too. However, travelers from places with a higher number of cases will have to face stricter requirements.

Japan to Ease Travel Restrictions in November

Japan is set to lift the travel ban on November 1 for business travelers. Part of the government’s plan is to allow all transient travelers on business trips to enter Japan without going through strict quarantine regulations.

The government warns that it does not guarantee to accommodate all travelers who wish to enter Japan. The entry limit will largely depend on the testing capacity at major airports and other entry points.

More Relaxed Travel Restrictions

The Japanese government has also been in talks with foreign counterparts to discuss a two-way easing of travel restrictions. These countries include Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Brunei, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, and China.

The bilateral agreement enables travelers to and from Japan to skip the 14-day self-quarantine policy if they test negative for the coronavirus. Travelers will also be able to use public transportation as opposed to those who are in self-isolation. In addition, a complete itinerary is required.

However, all travelers will still need to be tested within 72 hours before entering Japan.

Japan Could Fully Open Borders in April 2021

Tourists are the last on the line. While there’s no concrete statement from the government as to when international tourists will be allowed to enter Japan again, we think the government might be ready to fully open its borders to everyone by April 2021.

The said date is two months ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, which was rescheduled to July 23 to August 9, 2021.

Once Japan opens borders to tourists, we expect some conditions to be imposed and preventive measures to be observed. These may include using a health check app while in the country to monitor their day-to-day health. A 14-day self-quarantine may no longer be required by then considering tourists are usually around for a short time.

Foreign tourists may also be required to present a private medical insurance certificate upon arrival. This will ensure they are protected and the government is somehow free from obligations in case tourists will get infected or hospitalized.

Health consultations centers for foreign tourists may also be set up around popular attractions and Olympic facilities.

For now, the government has yet to lay out its plans for fully reopening borders.

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