Quarantine free Japan travel may open from April

More positive news this week with reports that quarantine free Japan travel may open from April to approved countries considered to have COVID-19 under control.

Of course the re-scheduled Tokyo Olympics are less than 10 months away now, and the government will want to allow not just athletes and officials but also supporters to travel as freely as possible.

Japan Travel could be back on in time for sakura season! © Japanezy.com

Ideas being considered include special medical clinics catering to foreigners for key Olympic areas around Tokyo.

Getting tourism re-started in a gradual way will be key to allowing that to happen with a trial to launched in April according to the Japan Times.

The moves follow on from the ‘Business Track’ arrangements introduced at the end of September, initially for Singapore and subject to extension in discussion with other countries to make reciprocal arrangements – including Australia and New Zealand – and ‘Residence Track’ for those with resident status in Japan wishing to return applicable since September 25.

Key to these, and likely to be required for future general travel, is the LINE Contact tracing app, available here:

IOS https://apps.apple.com/jp/app/id1516764458

GOOGLE PLAY https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.go.mhlw.covid19radar

Those requirements are quite onerous – here are the main points from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affair MOFA website

  • The receiving company/entity is requested to fill in and sign (Electronic signatures or personal seals are not accepted. Please use the corporate seal of the receiving company/entity) “Written Pledge (Foreign nationals – Business Track)” (document for receiving companies/entities to commit to taking necessary measures to ensure that the additional quarantine measures are properly implemented) and “Schedule of Activities in Japan” (document to be attached to “Written Pledge” to declare in advance the schedule of activities of the traveler such as accommodation and destinations scheduled for 14 days after entering Japan). The copies of the original of these forms must be sent to the traveler. It is the responsibility of the receiving company/entity to have sufficient understanding about the additional quarantine measures and necessary documents and to explain the details carefully to the traveler. The receiving company/entity should keep the original of these forms for 6 weeks after the invitee enters Japan. If requested by the relevant ministry, please submit the original forms.
  • The traveler must apply for a new visa or “Re-entry Confirmation Letter” at the Embassy or Consulates of Japan in their own country/region of nationality (Please check the details for the application on this page.) . The Embassy or Consulates of Japan will ensure that the receiving company/entity agrees to committing to the additional quarantine measures by checking “Written Pledge” (copy) and “Schedule of Activities in Japan” (copy). (Note) Copies of the “Written Pledge” and “Schedule of Activities in Japan” must be in paper, which includes printed PDF of the original.
  • Daily temperature checks are required for 14 days prior to the departure. Should any common symptoms of COVID-19 including a fever of 37.5°C or higher, respiratory symptoms, strong feeling of weariness (fatigue) be recognized, it is necessary that the trip to Japan be cancelled. It is not necessary to submit the result of the health monitoring for 14 days prior to the departure before traveling to Japan. Instead, this result must be included on the “Questionnaire” distributed on the plane.
  • The traveler must obtain a certificate of pre-entry testing result in the country/region of departure within 72 hours before departure (from the sampling time).
    (Note: This format (Word) filled and signed by one of the medical institutions designated and listed by the government of each country/region is considered to be valid. So, in principle, please use this format. If the applicant cannot find a medical institution which accepts the above mentioned format, the applicant can submit an optional format document with the following information in English. Please note that in case any of the following required information is missing, the applicant may be denied permission to enter Japan as falling under the relevant provisions of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.
    (1) Personal information of an applicant (name, passport number, nationality, date of birth, sex), (2) Proof of authenticity of the COVID-19 test result (test method (only limited to the sample and test method mentioned in the format), result, date of the sampling, date of test result, date of issuance of the test), and (3) Information of a medical institution(the name and address of a medical institution /the name of a doctor/stamp seal(or sign by doctor)). In addition to original certificate (issued in print from), copy (issued and received electronically (such as by email)) is also acceptable. In any case, the certificate must be submitted upon arrival in print from. Please be sure that the certificate is printed on paper before arrival.
  • The traveler must take out private medical insurance (including travel insurance covering medical expenses during their period of stay in Japan) before entering Japan unless they are registered with the public insurance system of Japan such as Health insurance and National Health Insurance.
  • The traveler must submit the “Written Pledge (Foreign nationals – Business Track)” (copy), “Schedule of Activities in Japan” (copy) and “Questionnaire” to the airport quarantine office. The certificate of pre-entry test results (original or copy) needs to be presented at the airport quarantine office and submitted to the Immigration Office.
  • The airport quarantine officer and the immigration officer will check the installation and set-up of the necessary applications (LINE, COVID-19 contact tracing and map applications). The necessary preparation must be completed by then.
    • The traveler must report to the responsible person of the receiving company/entity for their health condition every day for 14 days after entering Japan. (The responsible person is required to report the traveler’s health condition through the application LINE installed in advance.) In case, the traveler is able to interact in Japanese and has a smartphone operated in Japanese domestic phone number, the traveler may install the LINE application and report their health condition on their own.
    • The traveler must install the COVID-19 contact tracing application designated by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to their smart phone by the arrival in Japan and make sure that the application remains active for 14 days after entering Japan.
    • The traveler must keep location date through map application for 14 days after entering Japan.

Additionally foreign residents of Japan have been able to return since Spetember 25 complying with similar provisions:

  • The receiving company/entity is requested to fill in and sign (Electronic signatures or personal seals are not accepted. Please use the corporate seal of the receiving company/entity) “Written Pledge (Foreign nationals – Residence Track)” (document for receiving companies/entities to commit to taking necessary measures to ensure that the additional quarantine measures are properly implemented). The copy of the original of “Written Pledge” must be sent to the traveler. It is the responsibility of the receiving company/entity to have sufficient understanding about the above-mentioned applications and necessary documents and to explain carefully to the traveler. The receiving company/entity should keep the original form for 6 weeks after the invitee enters Japan. If requested by the relevant ministry, please submit the original form.
  • The traveler must apply for a new visa at the Embassy or Consulates of Japan in his/her country/region of nationality (Please check the details for the application on this page.). The Embassy or Consulates of Japan will ensure that the receiving company/entity agrees on committing to the additional quarantine measures by checking “Written Pledge” (copy). (Note) Copy of the “Written Pledge” must be in paper, which includes printed PDF of the original.
  • Daily temperature check is required for 14-days prior to the departure. If any of common symptoms of COVID-19 including fever of 37.5°C or higher, respiratory symptoms, strong feeling of weariness (fatigue) are recognized, it is necessary that the trip to Japan be cancelled. It is not necessary to submit the result of this health monitoring for 14 days prior to the departure before traveling to Japan. Instead, this result must be included on the “Questionnaire” distributed on the plane.
  • The traveler must obtain a certificate of pre-entry testing result in the country/region of departure within 72 hours before departure (from the sampling time).
    (Note: This format (Word) filled and signed by one of the medical institutions designated and listed by the government of each country/region (in case such lists are available) is considered to be valid. So, in principle, please use this format. If the applicant cannot find a medical institution which accepts the above mentioned format, the applicant can submit an optional format document with the following information in English. Please note that in case any of the following required information is missing, the applicant may be denied permission to enter Japan as falling under the relevant provisions of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.
    (1) Personal information of an applicant (name, passport number, nationality, date of birth, sex), (2) Proof of authenticity of the COVID-19 test result (test method (only limited to the sample and test method mentioned in the format), result, date of the sampling, date of test result, date of issuance of the test), and (3) Information of a medical institution(the name and address of a medical institution /the name of a doctor/stamp seal(or sign by doctor)). In addition to original certificate (issued in print from), copy (issued and received electronically (such as by email)) is also acceptable. In any case, the certificate must be submitted upon arrival in print from. Please be sure that the certificate is printed on paper before arrival.
  • The traveler must take out private medical insurance (including travel insurance covering medical expenses during ‘their period of stay in Japan) before entering Japan unless they are registered with the public insurance system of Japan such as Health insurance and National Health Insurance.
  • The traveler must submit “Written Pledge (Foreign nationals/ Residence track)” (copy) and “Questionnaire” to the airport quarantine office. The certificate of pre-entry test results (original or copy) needs to be presented at the airport quarantine office and be submitted to the Immigration Office.
  • The airport quarantine officer and the immigration officer will check installation and set-up of the necessary applications (LINE, COVID-19 contact tracing and map applications). The necessary preparation in this regard must be completed by then.
    • The traveler must report to the responsible person of the receiving company/entity for his/her health condition every day for 14 days after returning to Japan. (The responsible person is required to report the traveler’s health condition through the LINE application installed in advance.) In case, the traveler is able to interact in Japanese and has a smartphone operated in Japanese domestic phone number, the traveler may install LINE and report their health condition on their own.
    • The traveler must install the COVID-19 contact tracing application designated by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to their smart phone by the arrival in Japan and ensure that the application remains active for 14 days after entering to Japan.
    • The traveler must retain their location date through map application data for 14 days after entering to Japan.
Looks like there will be a maze of regulations to follow, hopefully less for tourists than business travellers and residents © Edo Wonderland