Business travel relaxation undone in less than two months.

In October, Japan took a major step towards reopening its borders by allowing entry to travelers from around the world, provided they were coming on business and completed a quarantine period upon arrival. However, less than two months after the easing of entry restrictions, the government has decided to tighten them back up again,

As of Monday, December 28, non-resident foreigners are once again prohibited from entering Japan, with the only exceptions being short-term business travelers from a handful of nearby countries and territories (China, Hong Kong, Macao, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand). The travel ban will initially be in effect until the end of January, but the term may be extended depending on coronavirus infection numbers in Japan between now and then.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that reentry following short-term business travel departures by residents of Japan were also being suspended. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s website:

From December 30, 2020, until the end of January, 2021, all foreign nationals and Japanese citizens, who enter or return to Japan from countries and regions (except for the United Kingdom and Republic of South Africa) whose authorities have announced the confirmation of domestic infection of new variant of Coronavirus within their countries and regions (except for those who enter or return to Japan under the framework of “Business Track” and “Residence Track”), will be asked to submit a negative COVID-19 testing result conducted within 72 hours (from the sampling time to departure time of the flight) to an immigration officer and a COVID-19 testing will be conducted at airport quarantine stations upon entry into Japan. Those who cannot submit the negative COVID-19 testing result mentioned above will be requested to stay at specific facilities designated by the Chief of the Quarantine Station (limited to accomodation facilities designated by the Quarantine Station) for 14 days after arrival.

In addition, travelers entering or returning to Japan from countries where variants of the coronavirus have been documented will need to be tested and confirmed as non-coronavirus infected within 72 hours of their departure, and submit to testing again upon arrival in Japan. While the general travel ban mentioned above would preclude new travel to such countries, the new testing rules would apply to residents of Japan who are already abroad but scheduled to return to Japan in the near future.

The new travel restrictions come several days of record-setting new coronavirus infections in Japan, with Tokyo recording more than 700 new cases for five days in a row between January 23 and 27.

Due to the rapidly changing nature of health and travel regulations, SoraNews24 strongly encourages individuals planning to travel to/from Japan to confirm their entry eligibility with the embassy/immigration bureau of both their home country and Japan.

Sources: Yahoo! Japan News/Mainichi Shimbun Digital via Otakomu, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, NHK World Japan (1, 2)
Top image: Pakutaso
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