The strict COVID-19 restrictions on foreigner entry into Japan continue despite the end of the state of emergency for Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures on March 21, 2021.  The strict restrictions will continue to suspend even essential business travel (available for travelers from any country) and the special “Business Track” entry (available for travelers from Singapore, China and other select countries).  The current ban on entry into Japan does not apply to Japanese citizens and foreign nationals with current residency status.  On March 21, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare announced a plan to expand testing for COVID-19 variant strains to all entrants to Japan.

For background, as of March 19, 2021 all travelers entering Japan (regardless of nationality or residency status) must submit a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to departure.  All travelers from 24 designated countries (as of March 22, 2021), including Germany, France and Belgium, are required to provide proof of negative testing for COVID-19 variants prior to departure, upon arrival and three days after arrival in Japan, in addition to closely monitored quarantine measures upon arrival.  Japanese officials have indicated that the aforementioned measures will be expanded to all travelers coming into Japan regardless of the country of departure.  Failure to obtain such a certificate of negative testing will result in a denial of entry into Japan.  The Japanese government has also begun requiring entrants into the country via Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport to install the location services app “OSSMA”, the app for notification of close contacts with infected persons “COCOA” and the video communications app Skype.   A similar requirement is expected to begin for travelers arriving at other airports across the country as well.

As mentioned in our prior blog post, the Japanese government has been discussing a variety of measures to limit entry into Japan.  While the 2,000 per day cap on entry into Japan has not been officially implemented, the Japanese government has been working with airline companies to limit the number of travelers coming into the country, including a request to foreign airline companies to limit the number of passengers on international flights to Japan to 100 passengers.

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