Japan has had stringent entry requirements in place for non-nationals since March 2020 (I was able to get in the night before) and didn’t even allow foreign residents of the country to enter for months if they happened to be overseas when the border was closed.
Japan slightly relaxed entry requirements for students with approved admissions and business travelers in late 2021, but these programs were halted when the Omicron wave hit.
Now, Japan plans to lower the mandatory quarantine from seven nights to three in March for nationals and those allowed to enter the country. Select incoming travelers can skip the quarantine altogether if they have negative Covid-19 test results, have been fully vaccinated and boosted, and arrive from countries with low infection rates (are there any right now?).
None of these changes apply to tourists that are still banned from entering. They are in place to facilitate business travel and allow international students to enter Japan.
You have to remember that Japan has never prevented its citizens from leaving but has had a daily arrivals cap in place.
Excerpt from the Japan Times:
Government officials also plan next month to ease the cap on the number of daily new entrants from overseas, raising it from the current 3,500 to 5,000 — the same level as November, before the omicron variant started to spread, the report said.
Some 150,000 foreign students who hold Japanese visas were unable to enter the country by the end of last year due to its strict COVID-19 border controls, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Tuesday.
Matsuno also said that the number of people newly entering Japan from Nov. 29 to Feb. 10 totaled about 6,000.
The current border restrictions have banned, in principle, the new arrivals of all nonresident foreign nationals. The ban, due to expire at the end of February, has been in place since late November as part of Japan’s efforts to slow the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus, buying time for scientists to find out more about it.
These are baby steps of reopening the country, but it will be a while before tourists can enter. Perhaps in the second half of this year or early 2023?
Not sure if many foreign non-resident business travelers were entering the country in late 2021 due to very stringent entry requirements and red tape involved in getting the entry approval.
I am glad that I spent close to six months in Japan back in 2020 when most Western countries were experiencing their worst Covid-waves. Life, for the most part, was normal.