Editor’s Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on March 8.
Currently, 5,000 people can enter Japan per day for non-tourism purposes, up from 3,500.
Foreign residents of Japan, even if they have residency, who travel to Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia or Zimbabwe will not be allowed to re-enter the country.
What’s on offer
A heady mix of the cutting edge and deeply traditional, Japan remains a major draw for travelers from all over the globe. Whether participating in a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, scouring Tokyo’s Akihabara district for tech bargains or soaking in a hot onsen in the forests of Tohoku, this is a country that leaves its mark on all who visit.
Who can go
Japan has some of the most stringent travel restrictions in the world.
Currently, 18 prefectures are under quasi-states of emergency: Aichi, Aomori, Chiba, Gifu, Gunma, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Kagawa, Kanagawa, Kyoto, Kumamoto, Osaka, Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigi and Tokyo.
They will remain under this status until at least March 21.
What are the restrictions?
Those traveling under Japan’s revised business travel rules will need to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure, signed and stamped by the laboratory where it was taken. While they will not need to self-isolate, they will need to provide details of their movements for the following two weeks and not use public transport.
Under these states and quasi-states, prefecture governments were allowed to make restrictions about things like crowd sizes and restaurant hours. With those designations lifted, it is possible for venues like bars, malls and cinemas to reopen.
What’s the Covid situation?
As of March 8, Japan had reported 5,395,143 confirmed cases of the virus and 24,948 deaths. About 80% of eligible adults have gotten at least two rounds of a Covid vaccine.
Japan confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant on December 22, 2021. The National Institute of Infectious Diseases confirmed that the infected patient was a Japanese man in his 30s returning from Namibia.
Japan’s health ministry has announced that it will allow prefectures to let younger patients who are considered lower risk to self-administer antigen tests and start isolating at home without waiting for a doctor’s diagnosis.
Previously, patients had to be registered as a Covid-19 patient by a doctor, who reported each new case to the government. If adopted, the new policy will allow patients to contact local public health centers themselves.
This measure is intended to reduce the number of people visiting hospitals and health centers.
What can visitors expect?
While much of Japan remains open for business, cities are far quieter than usual and the government has the right to request the closure of businesses in areas of high transmission. Masks must be worn in public.
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Joe Minihane, Julia Buckley and Lilit Marcus contributed to this story