It’s been a good six months since Covid-19 coronavirus forced Japan to close its borders to international travel, with 159 nations now on the country's no-entry list. While it’s been devastating for tourists who were forced to cancel their dream holidays, it’s also been a burden for foreign residents, many of whom were stuck abroad or away from their families. Fortunately, foreign residents were given permission to re-enter the country. Now in a new development, the Japanese government is considering allowing more foreign nationals to enter Japan.
The Japan Times has reported that foreign nationals staying in Japan for longer than three months could be allowed into Japan as early as October 1. This applies to a highly specific list of people: foreign students without government grants (those with grants were given entry permission in August), 'medical staff, athletes, and those arriving for cultural activities'. Perhaps the addition of athletes is in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics next summer, which is considering allowing athletes to skip mandatory quarantine. Unfortunately, this means tourists are still not allowed entry.
The Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese only) reported that everyone entering the country will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. There’s no information on a mandatory PCR test 72 hours before boarding the flight to Japan, which is a requirement for those in the travel bubble or for long-term foreign residents. The amount of people allowed entry will also be capped at 1,000 per day to not overwhelm the testing centres.
The report also mentioned that polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing will increase in three additional airports: New Chitose Airport in Sapporo, Chubu Airport in Nagoya and Fukuoka Airport. Currently, PCR testing has increased at Haneda, Narita and Kansai airports.
As of now, the Japanese government has implemented a travel bubble with Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, along with a travel corridor for short-term business visitors with Singapore. Foreign residents are also given permission to travel in and out of Japan as long as they follow these guidelines.
Additional reporting by Tabea Greuner.