Sep 30, 2020
Starting October 1, Japan is reopening its borders to all foreign nationals with long-term permits to stay or those visiting for shorter-term business trips.
Just about in time for the beginning of the university school year, international students will be allowed into the country, as well as people going for a minimum of three months for cultural activities, medical tourists and athletes. Business travelers with itineraries of less than three months will also be let in.
There are, of course, a few COVID-19 catches. You need a guarantor–an organization, company, or school, for example—responsible for ensuring you’ve tested negative for the virus prior to arriving in Japan. Then, it’s a virus test upon landing, a 14-day quarantine and definitely no public transport. About 1,000 such entries will be allowed per day. (Check here for further details.)
Naturally, those heading out of the country require negative test results to get where they’re going. So, the government is soon launching a website where you can book your polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the novel coronavirus within 72 hours before you fly. The website, TeCOT, is targeted specifically at business travelers and (those oh-so-long-delayed) Olympians and will also allow them to check the necessary conditions for outbound travel by destination.
In general, medical establishments issue negative test result certificates, but the government, in true Japanese efficiency, is also investigating creating a separate app for issuing certificates, and hopes to make it available in Q1 2021.
Japan, which has seen more than 82,000 coronavirus infections and upwards of 1,500 deaths, has already eased restrictions for short-term business travelers from Singapore and is in talks to do so with other Southeast Asian countries. But it looks like quick-hop leisure tourists looking forward to the famous fall foliage season will have to wait til next year.