When will travel to Japan be possible again?
This is the trillion-yen question for Japan. Tourist arrivals have been down 99.9% on the previous year's levels for three consecutive months since April. The number of arrivals from foreign travellers was just 2,500 in June. These are the lowest totals recorded since records began in 1964 when the previous low for monthly foreign visitors was 17,543, recorded in February of that year(Kyodo News)
As one of the country's boom sectors over the past 10 years the question of how and when to re-open Japan's borders, currently closed to nationals from over 110 countries around the world, is near the top of the agenda.
Current Japanese government plans
On 18th June, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan is looking to allow business travellers from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam to enter the country. Talks have also begun with a total of 16 Asian countries such as Malaysia and Singapore about easing travel restrictions from as early as September. This will be subject to travellers testing negative for the virus both before and after their flight to Japan and keeping GPS data on their smartphones to aid in contact tracing. They must also provide an itinerary of their first 14 days in the country, and cannot use public transportation (Kyodo News). According to the Nikkei Asian Review, this will initially involve business travellers only, before being expanded in stages, first to students, and finally tourists, depending on infection rates. Despite the restrictions, this is an encouraging sign for the beginning of the resumption of international travel to Japan.
For a more detailed summary of the 12th August Japan Immigration Service information on who is allowed to enter the country, what paperwork and measures they need to abide by, as well as basic policy steps for future travel, see Japan Real Estate's article here.