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  • Wednesday, December, 2022| Today's Market | Current Time: 04:24:25
  • Travelers planning to visit Japan from India may be confused by the ever-changing rules and restrictions for entry to the country during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For example, while it is not currently possible to obtain a new Japan online visa for Indians for tourism or business purposes, those with an existing Special Residence Permit are allowed entry.

    This guide aims to clarify some of the doubts that Indian citizens may have about whether they can currently visit Japan, and also outlines the coronavirus documentation requirements that they need to meet to enter the country.

    Can I travel to Japan now from India?

    As of July 2021, Japan continues to prohibit all foreign citizens traveling to Japan for tourism or business purposes from entering the country.  Although the Tokyo Olympics are going ahead as planned, foreign fans are not allowed to enter Japan to witness the Games in person.

    Travelers are not currently permitted to enter Japan if they have been in India within the previous 14 days. Nevertheless, the following exceptions apply:

    • Nationals of Japan

    • Spouses or children of nationals of Japan with proof of relationship

    • Passengers with a Special Permanent Residence Permit, alongside a Re-entry Permit or an Embarkation and Disembarkation Card.

    However, it is necessary for the traveler to have left Japan no later than by 13 May 2021 for these exceptions to apply. Furthermore, while it is possible to transit through Japan to an onward destination during the pandemic without having to quarantine on arrival, this can only be done within the same airport and on the same calendar day.

    Requirements to travel to Japan from India during COVID-19

    All passengers permitted to enter Japan at present must comply with the coronavirus travel restrictions currently in place. In addition to the need to take a COVID-19 test and quarantine for 14 days on arrival, it is necessary to meet the following requirements:

    • Complete an online “Quarantine Questionnaire”, which generates a QR code that the traveler must present on arrival

    • Download the “MySOS” mobile app

    • Have a negative COVID-19 test result in English, taken at most 72 hours before departure from the first international embarkation point. The test must specify that it is based on an nasopharyngeal swab, saliva, or a nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab.

    The method used for the test must be one of the following:

    • LAMP
    • NEAR
    • Next Generation Sequence
    • Quantitative antigen (CLEIA)
    • RT-PCR
    • Smart Amp
    • TMA
    • TRC

    The following travelers are exempt from the test certificate requirement:

    • – Passengers under the age of 6
    • – Holders of a diplomatic or official visa issued by Japan
    • – US military personnel
    • – Civilian personnel of the US armed forces in Japan and any dependents
    • – Those with a consular letter detailing why the test could not be taken

    Additionally, any passengers traveling to the Tokyo 2021 Games with an Olympic Identity and Accreditation Card (OIAC) or Paralympic Identity and Accreditation Card (PIAC) are required to download the OCHA app. They must present the QR code generated to board their flight and upon arrival.

    However, this does not apply to travelers with a “Prior Consent Form” from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) or the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT), or those with a Written Pledge.

    When will Japan open its borders to Indian tourists again?

    It is not yet clear when Japan will lift the travel ban for tourists and business visitors. While roughly 17% of the Japanese population has been fully vaccinated and 30% have received at least one dose of a vaccine, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 detected in the country has been on the rise in recent weeks.

    Furthermore, the state of emergency in Japan has been extended in the Tokyo metropolitan area until August 22 at the earliest in order to limit the spread of the virus during the Olympic events. Therefore, it seems unlikely that the Japanese travel restrictions for tourists will be lifted before the end of the summer.

    Nevertheless, the Japanese government has now implemented a digital COVID passport for its citizens to facilitate travel to international destinations for those who have been fully vaccinated. Negotiations are underway with other countries for this digital certificate to be accepted.

    In return, Japan may soon start accepting COVID vaccine passes issued by other countries and allow travelers to enter without having to meet other coronavirus requirements, such as the need for testing or quarantine. Similar to the reopening last fall, these measures may first be implemented for business visitors from countries with a low incidence of cases before being rolled out to tourist travelers later in the year. 

    However, a full reopening for tourism will likely depend on how the pandemic situation advances in the countries. If positive cases begin to fall and the number of hospitalizations is low, then Japan may well open its borders to tourists by the end of 2021.


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