While Japan’s state of emergency was lifted for all prefectures on May 25, the government’s entry ban for travellers from 111 countries and regions is still in place. Japan has been wary of relaxing travel restrictions too quickly and has opted to extend the entry ban and visa suspensions until the end of June.
Currently, Japanese nationals are allowed to re-enter the country on condition that they are tested for the virus before they leave the airport and spend 14 days in self-isolation at home. But a tourist hotspot like Japan can’t keep its borders closed forever, so when the country does reopen to foreign travellers, it's likely Japan will take a so-called ‘travel bubble’ approach.
A travel bubble would mean opening Japan’s borders to travellers from countries with similar Covid-19 coronavirus safety protocols, ideally where numbers of new coronavirus cases are low. The Asahi Shimbun reports that the Japanese government is considering opening up to travellers from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand, with certain requirements in place. All four countries have significant business and tourism links with Japan and seem to have the virus under control.
On the other hand, The Japan Times reports that the government plans on prioritising entry for business people and experts from China, South Korea, Australia and, surprisingly, the US to help boost the economy. Entry restrictions for general tourists will be eased gradually at a later stage. We’ll keep you updated with the latest information once a final decision is made.
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