January 12 – Japan has extended its travel ban on all countries until the end of February.
Japan has extended its travel ban on almost all new foreign arrivals until February-end and reopened mass-vaccination centers as it battles a spike of cases, announced the government Tuesday.
“The infection situations regarding Omicron are clearly different at home from abroad, so the framework (of the current border controls) will be maintained until the end of February,” Kishida told reporters.
The government would consider some exemptions for foreign family members of Japanese people as well as people studying in Japan but it has not been confirmed yet.
To contain the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Japan has suspended all travel bubbles with all countries and regions. This restriction also includes travel for business purposes.
COVID-19 situation in Japan
As of January 12, Japan has seen 1,778,827 cases of COVID-19, and 18,407 people have lost their lives to the virus. The government is imposing different local measures in order to stop the spread of infections.
What to do in Japan during pandemic
Domestic travel has been largely unimpeded in the country ensuring that Japanese citizens continue visiting their own tourism sites.
This means that many attractions have begun to reopen for tours.
Disclaimer: Travel restrictions and governmental regulations can change rapidly and the information below might be outdated within a few hours. Therefore, double-check all information with your embassy or on official websites. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel.
Japan reopening for tourism: Updates Archives
December 19 – Japan to extend the ban on all countries until early next year
The government banned all foreign nationals from entering the country on Nov. 30. It also imposed tighter quarantine restrictions on anyone returning from countries where the Omicron variant had been confirmed.
The restrictions were supposed to be in place for a month.
According to a Japanese official, maintaining the current border restrictions in place beyond next month is also an option.
December 4 – Japan has closed its borders to all international travelers
Japan announced it will suspend entry of all foreign visitors from all countries amid concerns over the new COVID-19 variant.
“This is a preventive, emergency measure to avoid a worst-case scenario,” said the Prime Minister. “This is an extraordinary measure for the time being just until we know more about the omicron variant.”
Returning Japanese travelers must undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine regardless of their vaccine status.
November 9 – Japan started reopening borders for some categories of travelers on Nov. 8
Japan started to reopen borders for business travelers, foreign students, and technical interns on Monday.
Entering Japan is still not easy. In addition to the country’s strict entry restrictions, companies that host or sponsor these travelers must commit to “meticulously managing their movements.”
It may turn into a titanic task given that Japan has already issued visas for over 370,000 of these newly allowed travelers, who are now waiting in line to enter the island.
The government has stated that this process will be carried out in stages. Despite the fact that this is a significant step forward in Japan’s reopening, the country will remain restricted to tourists for the time being.
October 28 – Tokyo and Osaka lifted some nightlife restrictions
Tokyo eased most restrictions on bar and restaurant opening hours on Oct. 25 after COVID-19 infection cases dropped dramatically, officials announced last week.
Osaka also lifted restrictions on the same date. Both prefectures asked restaurants and bars to limit the number of people who can sit together to four until Nov 30, which is a great step ahead.
Tokyo, a city of 14 million inhabitants, has been reported an average of only 47 cases per day over the last 7 days.
“Vaccination has been making great progress. We have seen cooperation with anti-infection measures. As a result, infections have been rapidly contained,” said Tokyo’s governor.
October 14 – Japan evaluates timing for resuming a popular subsidized travel scheme
The “Go To Travel” program started in July 2020 aiming to boost domestic travel, but it was temporarily suspended due to concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus.
As the local COVID-19 restrictions ease, Japan looks to revive the popular travel program, said the newly appointed minister for land, infrastructure, transport, and tourism.
“It is important to balance the prevention of contagion and the promotion of tourism.”
The minister also revealed the country expects to receive 60 million inbound tourists by 2030.
October 4 – Japan eases restrictions for vaccinated inbound travelers
Japan’s Prime Minister has agreed to reduce the quarantine period from 14 to 10 days for visitors who can provide evidence of being fully immunized against the coronavirus with one of the approved vaccines.
Up to date, Japan has approved Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines. Travelers vaccinated with China’s Sinopharm and the United States’ Johnson & Johnson are considered unvaccinated.
The country also lifted a great number of local restrictions. Businesses are now allowed to serve alcohol and theme parks to increase capacity.
September 12 – Japan would ease COVID-19 restrictions in November
The Japanese government plans to ease restrictions around November when Covid-19 drugs will be more accessible for the population.
Under the new scheme, businesses would be permitted to serve alcohol and remain open after 8:00 p.m.
Additionally, fully vaccinated people would be allowed inter-prefectural travel again.
For now, the State of emergency will be extended through Sept. 30 in Tokyo and nearby cities.
Source: Nippon TV News
August 14 – Japan to issue vaccine passports for outbound travel, but continues to be closed for inbound tourism.
Japan has started issuing vaccine passports for international travel. The plan is to streamline international travel for Japanese people but it does not mean that they will accept inbound travel yet.
To date, Japan has agreements with Italy, Austria, Sri Lanka, Slovakia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Vincent, Thailand (Phuket, Samui, Pha Ngan, Tao, only), Germany, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, Bulgaria, Belize, Poland, Hong Kong, Honduras, Lithuania and South Korea.
The country is struggling to be accepted by other nations because most countries are not willing to allow Japanese visitors without any reciprocity.
August 28 – Japan expands state of emergency through Sept. 12 as Delta cases increase – No reopening in sight
Japanese officials have expanded its state of emergency to Aichi, Gifu, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Mie, Miyagi, Okayama, and Shiga prefectures from Aug. 27 to Sept. 12 to fight the uncontrollable COVID-19 cases overwhelming the health system.
“Critical cases have spiked suddenly and the medical system is in an extremely dire state,” said Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura at a panel of experts.
Some 90% of ICU beds are now occupied with coronavirus patients in Tokyo.
Considering these numbers, the government is reluctant to provide a border reopening date.
May 10 – Japan is reportedly working on Vaccine passports to reopen international borders
Japanese authorities are reportedly working on a vaccine passport app. This app will be connected to the Japan Vaccination Record System and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. It will keep record not only of travelers’ vaccination certificates but also of negative COVID-19 tests so unvaccinated travelers don’t feel discriminated against.
This means Japan is also working on a reopening plan to allow international visitors. So far, the country is open for essential travel only and this exception does not even include all countries.
Japanese Minister Taro Kono said that if other countries have already started using vaccine passports to reopen travel, “so Japan will have to consider it too.”
Japan has had to make a tough decision not only for the world but also for its own economy. The government has officially decided not to extend their invitations to this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics Games to foreign visitors.
Officials say the country is obligated to protect the Japanese population from a bigger spread of the coronavirus and its new variants.
The Olympic Committee and two other organizations will be announcing this decision to the international community possibly next week.