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Japan Extends Travel Restrictions As New Olympics Rules Announced

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Like many countries around the world, Japan has a series of rules and restrictions in place regarding travel to ensure that cases of Covid-19 are not imported into the country. On Tuesday, it was announced that its restrictions were to be extended further, dampening any hopes of traveling to Japan in the near future. As well as this, Wednesday saw new Covid-inspired rules for the Olympics released, amidst a cloud of doubt surrounding whether or not the games will even go ahead. Here’s what you need to know about these issues.

japanese woman mask

Travel Restrictions Extended – Information For Travelers

On Tuesday, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that the country was extending its state of emergency, both in terms of geographical scope and duration. The state of emergency will now last until at least March 7th, and it now covers 10 prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka.

With the extension of the state of emergency, the ban on arrivals of foreign travelers has also been extended. At present, no foreign tourists are allowed to visit the country for tourism, with 152 countries banned outright and very few exceptions to the rule.

For those who are an exception, such as those with residence status in the country, family in Japan or Japanese nationals, the quarantine measures in the country have also been strengthened. All those entering the country must be tested for coronavirus within 72-hours of their flight, whilst also facing a test upon arrival and a 14-day period of self-isolation.

However, under new restrictions, travelers who arrive from a country where the mutated Covid-19 strains have been discovered must self-isolate as a government-designated facility for three days, with a further test on the third day. The rule already applies to travelers from the UK and South Africa, and is set to cover travelers from Ireland, Israel and Brazil’s Amazonas state from Friday.

Tokyo Olympics – Set To Go Ahead

Despite seeds of doubt sprouting in the both the athlete’s and citizen’s minds, and wavering public support towards the Olympic Games in Tokyo, countdown clocks around the city have been reset as the country gears up to host them. Head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach said last month that there was “no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on 23 July,” whilst a senior official for Tokyo’s games said the chance of them taking place was 100%.

The Olympics faced more media scrutiny this week as rules regarding the Covid-19 measures were made public. The new rules fail to mention mandatory vaccinations or quarantine measures, sparking debates about the feasibility of holding the games at all. Participants will be required to submit a negative test prior to arriving, and will then be tested every four days whilst in Japan.

Japan Covid-19 Entry Requirements Travelers Need To Know

There were also rules designed at reducing the spread of the disease for those in the stadium. Should spectators be allowed to attend, they will not be permitted to sing or cheers, but they are allowed to clap to show their support. There is also to be no hugging or high fiving among those in attendance, including the athletes themselves. Public opinion appears to be against the idea of hosting the games, with just 16% of Japanese people saying it should go ahead as planned this summer, and it remains to be seen how such an event can go ahead if the situation around the world fails to improve.

japan reopening for tourism first to these countries

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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


Friday 5th of February 2021

A lot can happen in the next 5 months. Vaccination is ramping up. Japan could require everyone visiting to have the vaccine, a PCR test in and out.

Either way, Japan is a beautiful place with wonderful people and I very much look forward to when they let me come back.


Thursday 4th of February 2021

Insane overreaction.

Stephen White

Thursday 4th of February 2021

We had hoped to see Japan on a cruise to be taken in April, but it was cancelled. Now it seems virtually all travel will be banned all year. Wow. I've been studying Japanese literally for years (starting in 1991) and this was my big chance to speak it with Japanese locals. Another dream shattered by COVID.


Thursday 4th of February 2021

Well this is going to be quite a strangle spectacle...