Since being closed to foreigners since March, Japan is currently in the process of preparing their international reopening plan and have publicized the countries they want to first lift restrictions for.
This article has been recently updated, scroll down to see October 2020 updates
Japan saw their first case in early January, much sooner than the rest of the world, but didn’t hit their peak until April.
Reopening its borders as soon as possible is a key challenge for Japan after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were rescheduled to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We can’t keep our nation closed forever,” a government source told the Japan Times.
Japan’s current state of tourism: borders closed, but no restrictions on domestic travel
Japan lifted their state of emergency on May 25th and soon afterwards in mid-June, started allowing domestic tourism and inter-prefectural travel. While the country states that it is not ready to reopen for mass tourism just yet, there are countries they are preparing to reopen for soon.
Japan’s Plan for Reopening For International Tourism
Japan is currently preparing the reopening of their border to foreigners. They are in talks with fellow nations that have important political ties to the nation, as well as neighboring countries who currently have the virus under control.
In a recent statement on their official government tourism board site, Japan said this:
“A gradual reopening of Japan's borders is currently being prepared, starting towards countries where the coronavirus has been contained or which have important ties to Japan. Vietnam is expected to be first; Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Myanmar, Singapore and Brunei are some other early candidates. Entry will initially be limited to business travelers, experts and trainees. Students and eventually tourists will follow at later points.”
According to the Japanese government, they are planning to first reopen borders to:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
First, Japan intends to reopen to business travelers, investors and other essential visitors from the above countries, then allowing in students, and finally general tourists.
What date will Japan reopen borders for international tourism?
A date has not yet been set, even for the preliminary list of countries above.
Update August 14: A breaking news report is a suggestion the reopening will start in September, but general tourism will not start at this time
Update October 6: A news story from the Japan Times suggests that general tourism may not resume until April 2021
Japan Business Track Updates
South Korea Business Track Update: October 8, 2020:
MOFA Japan and the Republic of Korea have reached an agreement to start the Business Track and the Residence Track from October 8, which will allow the resumption of business travel between Japan and South Korea.
Singapore Business Track Update: September 18, 2020:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan has just announced they will begin procedures for a Business Fast Track agreement between Japan and Singapore, starting on September 18.
Japan received over 31 million tourists in 2018, making it one of the most visited countries in the world. Japan has already reopened many of their tourist attractions for domestic visitors including museums, temples, shrines, gardens, parks, and even Disneyland in Tokyo.
Disclaimer: Japan’s reopening news is ever-changing and being updated constantly. We do our best to keep this article up to date with all the latest information, but 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.
Article originally published on July 4, 2020 with updates