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Japan Closes Borders To All Foreign Travelers

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Known throughout the world for its neon covered backdrops, delectable cuisine and seamless mix of the East and West, Japan is one of the true must-visit locations for travel afficionados from all corners of the globe. Whilst 2020 has been a write-off for many potential travelers, with travel restrictions and quarantine orders for virtually every country, it seems that 2021 is bound continue in the same vein – at least as far as Japan is concerned. Read on to find out why travelers are going to have to wait that little bit longer to explore the Land of the Rising Sun.

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Japan Has Banned Entry For AForeign Nationals – What Travelers Need To Know

Japan has joined the growing number of countries who have taken the extreme measure of closing their borders to foreign travelers. As on the 28th December, no foreign nationals will be permitted to enter the country, with the ban expected to last until the end of January at the earliest. The ban does not apply to American military personnel, who can enter but must follow the quarantine regulations for the country.

Japan has also put stricter rules in place regarding the re-entry of Japanese nationals and foreigners living in the country. These groups must provide proof a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hour prior to their departure for Japan, and must also self-isolate upon return to the country for a period of two weeks.

Why Has Japan Decided To Ban Foreign Travelers?

Like many countries around the world, Japan’s latest set of restrictions has come about following the discovery of the new virus strain in countries such as the UK and South Africa.

Japan has reported 7 cases of the new virus in its country in a short period of time; five from passengers that had arrived from the UK and two found in Tokyo. Japan had moved to ban non-resident foreigners from the UK and South Africa last week, however the discovery of the virus variant in other countries has led them to implementing the blanket ban on foreign arrivals in order to better reduce the chances of allowing more cases into the country.

Mexico And United States Will Not Ban UK Flights

How Long Will Travelers Be Banned?

Regulations have changed almost on a daily basis throughout the pandemic, so it is impossible to say whether or not the ban will extend beyond its end of January implementation. However, there are positive signs that suggest the ban may not be around for too long.

Japan To Consider Opening Up To Foreign Tourists

Japan has been working on a tracking system for foreign arrivals that it hopes will prevent further spread of the virus in the country. Using GPS in order to track and trace potential cases, the government hopes that it will be available in time for the Olympic and Paralympic games that are scheduled to begin on July 23rd. Should the system prove to be effective, Japan may scale back its restrictions once it has more of a foothold on the virus.

Japan had previously made tentative overtures to the tune of letting select groups of foreign tourists back in. Whilst this now remains unlikely in the near future, the reality is that the Japanese government is still keen on proceeding with the Olympic and Paralympic games – even if the general public is not. In order to test its Covid-19 readiness and procedures, it will have to let tourists enter before July. The faster countries get to grips with the new virus variant and roll out the vaccine, the sooner it will be that Japan starts to open up.

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Monday 28th of December 2020

Is there any info on if this also includes people with student visas? I have a year student visa and am planning on traveling to Japan early next year.

Kashlee Kucheran

Monday 28th of December 2020

We don't know at this time. Things are changing too fast in this environment to know