As Covid-19 coronavirus case numbers decrease and Japan continues to slowly reopen the economy, the future of travel is back on the agenda. While a total of 111 countries and regions are currently affected by Japan’s entry ban – this applies to both tourists and foreign residents – Japan is considering to reopen its borders gradually. To reopen while simultaneously keeping coronavirus cases low, Japan is reportedly working on a travel bubble, which will allow travellers from countries with similar Covid-19 safety protocols to enter Japan.
The Japan Times reports that 250 travellers per day from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam could be allowed into Japan, starting with businesspeople, including executives and engineers. The Japanese government virus task force team is still finalising the details, but Japan is aiming to implement the measure this summer. The four countries were chosen for their strong business and economic ties with Japan and high level of control over the virus.
In addition to the travel bubble, the government is considering setting up facilities for conducting PCR tests on people leaving Japan, to ease entry at their destinations. The list of countries in Japan’s budding travel bubble could be extended to include China, South Korea and the United States in the future.
Currently, foreign residents (which includes permanent residents, the spouse or child of a Japanese national or permanent resident, long-term residents and those holding work visas) are only allowed to re-enter Japan under ‘exceptional circumstances’, such as having left Japan for a memorial service or medical care.
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