New entry of foreigners to Japan to be suspended from Dec 28th to End of January

The government of Japan announced on December 26th that it will suspend new entry of foreigners from all countries starting midnight December 28th to the end of January, except for business travelers from 11 countries already approved for entry through a business travel framework.

The decision follows the outbreak of a highly infectious strain of the novel coronavirus that has appeared in the United Kingdom and other countries and which has also been detected in airport quarantine and the city of Tokyo.

Here are the key rules and rule changes:

Japanese and foreigners who have statuses of residence

  • May return to Japan and en-enter the country.
  • Will not be exempt from two week quarantine.
  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 test 72-hours prior to departure and PCR test on arrival in Japan will be required.
  • The government will strengthen quarantine requirements for people entering Japan from countries and regions where the new strain of the virus has been detected.

New entry of foreigners

  • New entry of foreigners from all countries will be suspended from midnight December 28th to the end of January.
    • Japan will stop issuing new visas from Monday, December 28th.
    • However, if you have already obtained a residency visa you will be allowed to enter Japan after the 28th.
    • Regardless of whether you have obtained a residency visa, if you have stayed in the United Kingdom or South Africa for 14 days of landing application, you will be denied entry to Japan.
  • This suspension will not apply to business travelers from 11 countries with which Japan has bilateral agreements for business track travel:
    • Thailand, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Brunei, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and China
  • There is no change to the policy denying entry to foreign tourists.

Up until November this year

Since the fall of this year, Japan had gradually relaxed restrictions on cross-border travel, aiming to balance measures for controlling the spread of the virus and the resumption of economic activity.

  • Starting in September, re-entry to Japan by foreigners with a medium- to long-term status-of-residence (working and student visas) was allowed to resume.
  • Starting in October, new entry to Japan by foreigners with a status-of-residence (working and student) visa was allowed.
  • Starting November 1st, Japanese and foreign residents re-entering Japan from overseas business trips were exempted from two-week quarantine.

As described above, the new rules announced December 26th will basically halt entry to Japan, except for Japanese citizens and foreigners who already have statuses of residence.

Source: Nikkei newspaper, December 26, 2020 (in Japanese)

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