Japan’s Covid-19 Regulations May Soften During Cherry Blossom Season

After being closed to travelers for more than two years, Japan’s borders might reopen as early as March this year. At the moment, Europeans are only permitted to enter the nation under extraordinary situations. The regulations for international students and business travelers were briefly relaxed in late 2021, but borders were rapidly locked again as a result of the development of Omicron virus in the United States.

It is expected that the harsh limitations will be lifted on February 28th. According to Kyodo News, the administration is apparently inclined to allow them to expire even though they might be extended again in the future.

This will be welcomed news for tourist organizations as well as people who want to visit the lovely island nation once again.

When the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, about 3 million international visitors flock to Japan every month of the year, especially in April. If limitations are drastically eased by the end of this month, springtime trips are likely to see a big increase once again.

What changes may be made to Japan’s travel regulations?

The European Union and the United Kingdom are among a lengthy list of countries from which travel to Japan is normally prohibited, save for particular circumstances stated by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Foreign visitors who do qualify for a visa (for example, family members of Japanese citizens) are required to take a PCR or quantitative Covid-19 test 72 hours before their departure, after which they must complete a seven-day quarantine period in Japan.

It is being considered whether to cut this period to three or five days for boosted tourists, or for those who can provide a negative test result. Government officials, according to a Kyodo News source, are considering scrapping the self-isolation time completely.

They also state that the present restriction on the number of international applicants accepted each day, which is 3,500, may be raised. Until November 2021, a maximum of 5,000 visitors were permitted per day before restrictions were increased once again.

According to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, “We will take into consideration accumulating scientific information on the Omicron variety, changes in infection circumstances within and outside Japan, as well as other countries’ border control actions.”

Although the Prime Minister said that the government would explore lifting the prohibition, he did not go into more detail.

It is probable that getting a booster shot will be one of the requirements for entering the nation, with vaccine passports having a time restriction – similar to the measures announced by the EU earlier this month – as part of the entry requirements. A reduction in limitations on arrivals and departures from Australia, New Zealand, and several Pacific nations might make travel to Japan more convenient for visitors.

At the moment, Australians are required to spend three days of their seven-day self-isolation period at a quarantine facility authorized by the government.

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