Japan is planning to finally take a step in reopening its borders to all countries as it starts allowing foreign residents and students to return in October after its borders closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic back in March.
The reopening would allow for foreign residents and students who were locked out of their homes, jobs and schools to finally return to Japan. The policy that locked out legal residents was viewed with disapproval by many in the international community.
The new border policy will be limited to 1000 people per day in the beginning and is dependent on the epidemiological situation in Japan.
There will be a mandatory 14 day quarantine in place for all foreign residents returning to Japan but it is unclear at this time if it will be a state-run quarantine or self-isolation.
However, the Japanese government has suggested that travelers who obtain a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival, and agree to have another test done upon arrival, may be able to circumvent the 14-day quarantine, providing both tests are negative. This has not yet been confirmed.
Preference will be given to foreign residents/students that are returning for a stay of 3 months or longer.
The borders will not reopen for tourism.
Earlier this month Japan had announced they would reopen their borders in three stages. First stage was for the return of business travelers, then followed by students and foreign residents and finally tourism.
The move appears that Japan in moving into phase two of their border reopening plan.
Japan has also started reopening for business travel to select countries.
On September 18th, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan announced they will begin procedures for a Business Fast Track agreement between Japan and Singapore.
The Japanese tourism board website stated “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.”
Myanmar and Brunei have been removed since the statement was made due to a rise in cases in both countries.
Although many tourist attractions and most businesses have resumed in Japan, no date on a reopening for international tourism has been given.
To date there have been 79,438 confirmed cases of COVID-19 resulting in 1508 deaths.
Japan has once again started to flatten its curve after a second wave peaked in August.