Japan considering allowing inbound immigrants to use public transportation, may introduce dedicated train

Japan is considering easing the requirement that inbound travelers to Japan not use public transportation and may introduce a dedicated train that allows people to transit from international airports.

The current policy requires people entering Japan, regardless of nationality, to refrain from using public transportation for two weeks, in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

For now, people transiting from international arrival to Japan have to use rental cars or have pre-arranged private pick-up from the airport. At some airports, there have been cases of people not complying with the government’s request to refrain from using public transportation. The business community in Japan has also called for this requirement to be eased because of the high expense of securing private airport transportation.

Regarding quarantine measures for people entering Japan, the government is considering shortening the two-week quarantine period. According to a government official, a study by an international organization found that a COVID test conducted after a one week quarantine period had almost the same effect on preventing the spread of infection.

The government’s Coronavirus Infectious Disease Control Subcommittee will meet soon to discuss specific measures to ease restrictions on the use of public transportation by people who have just arrived in Japan. The planned direction is to limit use of public transportation to trains and other vehicles with “infection prevention measures” in place. The government will also observe the status of infections and infection rates to decide when to start easing restrictions on use of public transportation.

As the number of new coronavirus cases has been increasing the Subcommittee is also considering recommending further pulling back on the GoTo travel campaign that is meant to stimulate domestic tourism demand. The government has also announced a policy to exempt Olympic spectators from being quarantined for two weeks for the Games scheduled to be held in the summer of 2021.


Source: Nikkei newspaper, November 30, 2020 (in Japanese)

Lead image: Narita Airport, iStock

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