Covid-19 coronavirus has caused Japan to close its borders to arrivals from 146 nations and regions and deny re-entry even to its foreign residents. Initially, foreign residents were only allowed re-entry on special humanitarian grounds under ‘exceptional circumstances’. On August 5, some foreign residents who left Japan for a country or region before it was subject to the entry ban were given permission to re-enter.
NHK (in Japanese only) reports that, starting next month, entry restrictions for foreign residents will be eased – and this one’s the big one. Foreign residents will be allowed to re-enter Japan as long as they perform polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on arrival. This includes foreign residents who left Japan for reasons other than those classified as ‘exceptional circumstances’.
From September, foreign residents will follow the same re-entry procedures as Japanese citizens, which includes a PCR test and a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival. Coronavirus testing centres will also open at Haneda, Narita and Kansai airports, in addition to the Tokyo and Osaka city centres. Foreign residents include people with visa status of permanent resident, spouse or child of a Japanese national or permanent resident, and long-term residents, in addition to those with working visas.
For now, it’s not yet clear whether the new rules will begin on September 1 or later in the month, but we’ll keep this story updated as new information is released.
Japan’s planned travel bubble also looks promising. Singapore and Japan have agreed to restart reciprocal travel in September, while Japan is also in talks with Malaysia about setting up a travel corridor for expats.
For more information, keep an eye on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Follow live updates on the coronavirus situation in Tokyo and Japan here.
Additional reporting by Tabea Greuner