Will Japan Lift Travel Ban By September?
Updated: Sep 16
Will Japan open borders soon? Is Japan lifting the entry ban to more countries? When can I travel to Japan again?
These are very common questions we often see almost everywhere. While we understand that a lot of us want to move around the world soon after months in lockdown and quarantine and the government badly needs to reopen the economy, there are things that are beyond the government’s control.
Here are the latest updates on the Japan travel ban:
Japan Eases Travel Restrictions
Part of the government’s plan to reopen the economy is to allow domestic travels. On June 19, the government lifted the remaining advisory that discouraged interprefecture travels. Alongside the announcement, gatherings of up to 1,000 people were also allowed while most establishments, public services, and tourist facilities were partially reopened to start serving the public again.
In June, Japan also discussed with the governments of Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, and Thailand to ease travel restrictions between them. Later in June, around 440 business travelers were flown from Japan to Vietnam three months after the travel ban started. These travelers were allowed for two strict conditions — a negative test result for COVID-19 and a full itinerary while in Japan.
And in July, the government also announced that it’s looking to make agreements with countries that have the coronavirus infections under control. These countries include China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Mongolia. China and South Korea have been the biggest source of foreign tourists for Japan in the last few years.
Business travelers are on top of the list, followed by international talents and foreign students. Tourists are last on the line.
Japan Raises Travel Advisory
While Japan is working to entry restrictions for some countries, it’s also increasing its travel advisory for others. On July 21, the government warned citizens from entering 16 countries and territories amid the rising coronavirus infection rates. These include Botswana, Comoros, Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Nepal, Palestine, Paraguay, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname, Uzbekistan, and Venezuela. These countries are now at Level 3 on the Foreign Ministry’s four-point scale for infectious diseases.
On Japan’s entry ban list are 146 countries and territories including the aforementioned ones, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, and the rest of Europe.
Is Japan Safe to Travel Now?
Since June 30, the daily record of coronavirus cases in Japan surged back to triple digits consistently.
The recent increase of infections in Japan has been largely attributed to Tokyo’s nightlife districts.
Only Friday, July 24, Japan recorded close to 1,000 new coronavirus cases — 366 of which were from Tokyo. This is the highest single-day increase since the pandemic began. Despite that, the government has not announced any plans to close karaoke bars, nightclubs, and host/hostess bars as they did back in April when the state of emergency was declared.
Is it still safe to travel around Japan amid the growing infection rates?
It is relatively safe to travel around Japan now. In fact, the government has continued pushing its domestic tourism campaign despite the growing number of coronavirus cases. However, it is also encouraging domestic travelers from Tokyo to avoid leaving the prefecture the same way for travelers outside Tokyo to avoid entering the prefecture for now.
Amid the government’s stance to continue economic activities, travelers and citizens are still encouraged to wear face masks, observe physical distancing, avoid crowded areas, and wash hands frequently.
Will Japan Lift Travel Ban Soon?
As of now, Japan is working hard to revive its economy and begin discussing the easing of travel restrictions with other countries. Nevertheless, the government wants to ensure the safety of travelers and its citizens and that it’s capable enough to handle droves of inbound tourists.
That being said, the government is targeting to increase the number of available tests at quarantine stations in Narita, Haneda, and Kansai airports to 10,000 tests per day by September. Currently, the cumulative testing capacity of these airports is 6,000 tests per day. It is also planning to increase its testing capacity from 2,300 to 4,000 across the country.
Based on this plan, the government is expecting to welcome more travelers by September. But for now, it has a lot of important things to do to achieve that.
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