On April 7, 2023, the Japanese authorities announced that the country decided to lift all the remaining COVID-19 restrictions.

The new entry protocol will become effective as of May 8, 2023. It will be the first major step on the way to pre-pandemic normality.

Currently, all visitors still need to provide either a certificate of vaccination confirming that they have received three doses of the coronavirus vaccine or a negative test produced within 72 hours before the planned departure. 

The move to lift entry restrictions resulted from the decreasing number of new infections reported daily and the successful vaccination campaign across Japan.

In practice, it means that starting 8th May, foreign nationals will be permitted to travel to Japan without needing to worry about any coronavirus documents and regulations.

Loosening the Japanese entry rules is expected to boost tourism in the country, which has been severely impacted by the prolonged lockdown introduced due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Japan entry requirements remaining in place

Despite the fact that Japan has decided to remove travel restrictions, travelers planning to visit Japan should remember to follow the standard entry requirements, including holding a valid passport and visa. 

Travelers from Brazil, Canada, Mongolia, Cambodia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom can apply for a Japan visa online

Japan eVisa is a single-entry visa that was first planned to be introduced in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed it.

Travelers from the abovelisted countries need to apply for a visa for Japan at least 7 days before the planned trip. In the future, the list of eVisa-eligible countries will certainly be extended. 

Also, the Japanese government is going to start a new genomic surveillance program that assumes that visitors displaying certain symptoms like fever can be tested voluntarily against COVID-19.

COVID-19 situation in Japan

The Japanese authorities have been observing the global situation in order to make a final decision to lift the border controls. 

Officials have also announced that they are going to monitor the coronavirus situation and take appropriate measures in case of an increase in new COVID-19 cases.  

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Japan has experienced a few waves of the virus. To combat it, the country implemented various strategies, including increasing testing capacity as well as distributing coronavirus vaccines among citizens. 

Japan first reopened the country's borders in 2022, allowing entry to travelers on supervised tours. In the autumn of 2022, the country finally welcomed independent travelers back. 

Last month, the Japanese government also removed the mandatory mask-wearing, making its usage optional and dependent on personal choice. 

Japan is actually one of the last Asian countries which dropped the coronavirus border restrictions, following the countries like Singapore, China and Thailand

Katarzyna Żyła

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