Japan is on the verge of reopening its borders for some international travel. The Government is planning to lift the long-standing ban on overseas journeys for a list of 12 countries, beginning November 1st.
List of 12 countries with low infection rates
After months of severe travel restrictions encompassing 159 countries and regions, Japan could be about to open its borders for some international travel in November, Reuters reports.
The list of 12 countries for which the ban on overseas travel will be eased includes China, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, and Malaysia. However, the Government will continue to advise against unnecessary travel to these countries.
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Business travelers exempt from quarantine
The Japanese newspaper Yomiuri further reported on Friday that the Japanese Government has decided to exempt citizens and foreign nationals with residency permits from the 14-day self-isolation rule when returning from a business trip abroad. The conditions for the exemptions are that they submit a detailed action plan for their whereabouts and refrain from using public transport.
Currently, anyone arriving in the country is required to stay in a hotel or at home for two weeks. All travelers must take a COVID-19 test at the airport and wait for the results to arrive before continuing onwards.
Business bubbles in place since September
Japan has previously opened up corridors for business travelers to several Asian countries in September. In October, the country began allowing entry for foreign travelers with approved long-stay visas who would remain for three months or longer, including students. However, the Government is considering to limit entries to no more than 1,000 per day, due to limitations in testing capacity.
International tourism scheduled for April 2021
Meanwhile, as far as tourism goes, things are looking grim for the near future. While Japan opened for domestic tourism on June 19th, international travelers will need to wait quite a while longer. The latest official date has been set for April 2021, three months ahead of the re-scheduled Tokyo Olympics.
Domestic tourism and remote work initiatives
To encourage travel within the country, a national tourism scheme called “Go To Travel” was launched in July. This offers subsidies of up to 50% for travel to and from prefectures other than Tokyo. Some domestic media hastened to dub the program “Go To Trouble,” as cases took another leap over the summer, and there were calls to delay or cancel the initiative entirely.
Moreover, Japan is taking the opportunity with so many people working from home to launch its national parks as remote working destinations. With support from the Japanese Environmental Ministry, several of the parks now have WiFi and rentable workstations at campsites.
According to data from Johns Hopkins, at the time of writing, Japan had reported 87,679 cases of COVID-19 and 1,617 deaths. The Government declared a state of emergency from April 7th to May 25th, but never proclaimed a total lockdown.
Do you know anyone traveling to or from Japan in the near future? Let us know in the comments.