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Japan’s new Covid-19 border rules explained

Who can enter the country, when, how, and what quarantine looks like now

Emma Steen
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Emma Steen
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Covid-19 restrictions are ever-changing and it can be hard to keep track of new information on Japan’s border restrictions. To bring you up to speed on the latest rule changes, we’ve answered some of the most common questions regarding Japan's current border restrictions. 

The following information is based on the government's recent decision to ease border restrictions, effective March 1 2022. 

Who can enter Japan?

As of March 1, foreign residents, business travellers and foreign students are allowed to enter Japan – but the borders are unfortunately still closed to tourists. If you’re a returning resident of Japan or travelling for business or study purposes, read on. If you’ve been waiting to visit Japan on holiday, bear with us! There are plans to further relax border restrictions from June so that Japan can be as accessible as other G7 countries. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as more information becomes available. 

Note: spouses and children of Japanese nationals as well as of foreign nationals who hold Long Term Resident status are categorised as having ‘exceptional circumstances’, which allows them to re-enter Japan regardless of the current travel restrictions. See the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information on who can enter Japan under exceptional circumstances. 

What do I need to enter Japan?

Currently, you need to prepare the following documents before departure:

  • A Covid-19 test certificate acquired within 72 hours of departure 
  • A signed copy of the Written Pledge
  • A completed questionnaire administered digitally by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (available in multiple languages) 

Once you’re in Japan, before leaving the airport, you must do the following: 

For more information on entry requirements, see the official website of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. 

How many people can enter Japan?

On April 10, the cap for overseas arrivals was raised from 7,000 people per day to 10,000 people per day. Travellers who test negative for Covid-19 upon arrival are also allowed to take public transport from the airport to their destination for self-isolation (must be within 24 hours of taking the test). 

What are the quarantine requirements for overseas arrivals?

A three-tier quarantine system was introduced on March 1 to allow some travellers from overseas to spend fewer days in quarantine. The number of days a person is required to spend in quarantine is determined by the place they are flying in from and their Covid-19 vaccine status. Here is a detailed outline of the current quarantine protocols and government-approved vaccines. 

As a general rule, travellers will be required to spend seven days in quarantine.

However, if you are flying in from a country or region designated by the Japanese government as a place where the Omicron variant has ‘become dominant’, and you haven't received a booster vaccine, you will be required to spend the first three days of quarantine in an airport quarantine hotel or similar facility.

If you are arriving from a designated destination and you have received a booster vaccine, you can do your seven-day quarantine at home. If you choose to get tested for the virus on the third day and the result is negative, you will no longer be required to quarantine.

Meanwhile, travellers arriving from countries and regions not designated by the government and who have not received a booster vaccine can also serve their seven days of quarantine at home. If they test negative on the third day, their quarantine period ends.

Fully vaccinated travellers arriving from non-designated places will have their quarantine period waived entirely.

What are the designated countries and regions?

As of May 17, only the following six countries and regions are subject to a three-day quarantine in a designated facility:

  • Bulgaria 
  • Egypt
  • Laos
  • Pakistan
  • Russia
  • South Africa 

In addition, several countries that were previously subject to quarantine at a government facility have been removed from the list over the past few weeks. This includes South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam. 

You’ll find the full list of designated countries and regions on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (available in English). 

What are Japan’s other Covid-19 restrictions?

quasi-state of emergency covering Tokyo and several other Japanese prefectures was officially lifted on March 21. Businesses are no longer required to close at a certain time, but the government is still urging people to take precautions, such as avoiding crowded places, to prevent another spike in infections.

This article was originally published on February 25 and updated on May 17. Check the MOFA website for the latest updates.

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