Japan May Lift Entry Ban on Foreigners Next Month

But the rule will only apply to those who have permission to stay more than 90 days.

An autumnal view of Kiyomizu-dera temple and the Kyoto skyline. (Photo: Su San Lee/Unsplash)

According to a just-published report by the Nikkei Asian Review, the Japanese government is now looking at easing entry restrictions for certain travelers from all countries this coming October, though short-term visitors will not be allowed in just yet. Overseas arrivals are to be capped at just 1,000 people a day and limited to those with medium- and long-term residency status in the country; eligible travelers must test negative for Covid-19 upon arrival before entering a mandatory two-week quarantine. Tokyo has not yet made a final decision on reopening its borders as that is still dependent on the overall pandemic situation.

Currently, a grand total of 159 countries and territories are affected by Japan’s blanket entry ban on non-resident foreign citizens. Early this month, the government opened up “travel bubbles” with five Asian countries, allowing Japanese expatriates living in Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Taiwan—as well as citizens of those nations who have residency status in Japan—to travel both ways. That privilege was already afforded to Thailand and Vietnam in August. Last week, Japan and Singapore opened up a Reciprocal Green Lane allowing quarantine-free entry for business and official travelers.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is said to be in talks with its counterparts in Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia, New Zealand, and South Korea on establishing similar travel bubbles. Indonesia and the Philippines are conspicuously absent from the list—no surprise given the fact that the Covid-19 situation in both countries remains out of control. The Philippines has logged more than 291,000 confirmed cases so far, including 5,049 deaths, while Indonesia has detected over 252,000 coronavirus infections and 9,837 related deaths, the highest number in East and Southeast Asia.

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