Haneda Airport
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Japan is now checking Covid-19 vaccination status of overseas arrivals

The move is a first step towards possibly exempting vaccinated travellers from some entry restrictions

Kaila Imada

With Japan’s tight border restrictions, travelling in and out of the country is no easy feat. While the country has decided to issue vaccine passports to help fully vaccinated residents travel internationally, there has yet to be any relaxation of quarantine measures or entry restrictions for those holding similar vaccination certificates issued by other countries. 

As reported by The Japan Times, Japan has now started checking the Covid-19 vaccination status of overseas arrivals to explore the possibility of exempting inoculated travellers from entry restrictions. 

Currently, there are more than ten different vaccines being administered around the globe, many of which have not been approved for use in Japan. To date, Japan has only approved three vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

To consider the feasibility of easing border control measures for vaccinated international travellers, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has been handing out voluntary questionnaires since early July to overseas arrivals in quarantine facilities. The survey asks if the person has received any doses of a Covid-19 vaccine – including the ones not currently approved in Japan – and if 14 days have passed since their last shot. The questionnaire does not require any proof of vaccination.

According to the report, the government will use the survey results along with other data, including vaccine efficacy rates, to determine whether border control measures can be eased in the future.

Meanwhile, applications for Japan's vaccine passports will begin on Monday July 26. Currently, Japan’s vaccine passport is expected to be accepted by more than 30 countries.

Coming back into Japan? Read our first-person account of what it’s like to return to Japan and quarantine under Covid-19 re-entry rules.

If you’re already in Japan, see to our guide on how to get your Covid-19 vaccine in Japan.

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