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Japan reveals more details of its planned travel bubble

Visitors from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam will have to submit negative PCR tests plus an itinerary

Kasey Furutani
Written by
Kasey Furutani

When can we travel again? That’s the big question on everyone’s mind. Covid-19 coronavirus has given us major cabin fever, and with summer fast approaching, our wanderlust is growing and we’re starting to plan our dream trips. Whether that’s temple and shrine hopping in Kyoto or gazing at Mt Fuji, we’re already getting excited about exploring Japan. 

Unfortunately, 111 countries and regions are still on Japan’s no entry list, making international travel more of a pipe dream. However, Japan has been considering a travel bubble, which would open the country to travellers from places with similar coronavirus safety measures. So far, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam are on Japan’s list of possible travel bubble buddies. 

On June 18, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed the travel bubble with the government’s coronavirus task force team and added more details to the plan. The Japan Times reports that travellers will have to submit a negative PCR test plus an itinerary for entry into Japan; they will also have to save the GPS data of their movements on a smartphone for contact tracing. The travel bubble will apply to business travellers first, then students, and eventually tourists. Other countries and regions may be added in the future. 

The travel bubble is starting to look like a real possibility, although nothing is set in stone yet. 

Japan’s nationwide state of emergency ended on May 25 and Tokyo has already entered stage three of its reopening plan, which allows all venues, including live houses and karaoke parlours, to resume business. All that’s left is international travel, which is still off the table even for foreign residents of Japan, except in special circumstances.

Get live updates on the Covid-19 coronavirus situation in Tokyo and Japan here.

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