It’s important to start this blog by saying that at this time, travel to Japan for tourism purposes remains extremely difficult and for nationals of many countries, impossible. In total, as of September 30th, nationals of 159 countries are banned from entering Japan and there is yet to be any announcement of when bans will be lifted and tourism can resume.
Having gotten the bad news out of the way, let’s turn to the good! Two recent announcements point to steps in the right direction through easing of certain restrictions. Firstly, on September 23rd the government announced their intention to loosen entry requirements for longer stay visitors – such as international students and those engaged in longer-term cultural, medical and sporting activities – from October 1st onward.
This is a positive step in the right direction with negotiations ongoing to open ‘travel corridors’ between countries including Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
As of September 28th, the government has indicated their intention to also lower their travel rating from ‘Level 3’ – warning Japanese citizens not to travel to those countries – to ‘Level 2’ – an advisory to avoid non-essential travel but allowing it – for certain countries. It is expected that Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Brunei and Belgium will be some of the first countries to have their travel advisories downgraded from Level 3 to Level 2.
If it takes place, it will be the first time Japan will have lowered its travel advisory for any countries since the beginning of the pandemic. It is hoped that by doing so, it will further dialogue to opening travel between those countries with an ultimate goal of opening the Japanese border to citizens of those nations.
It’s important to be clear, that lowering of the travel advisories would only allow Japanese citizens to travel from Japan to those countries and would require them to isolate for two-weeks upon their return. It would not allow citizens of those countries to yet enter Japan or compel those countries to allow entry by Japanese citizens. But in the diplomatic game of tit-for-tat, it would be a big step in the right direction with a hope it will lead to further loosening of travel restrictions by those countries.
To stay up-to-date with what’s happening in Japan including the latest COVID-19 news, information about traveling to, from and inside Japan, and everything you need to know about Nagano and Central Japan, make sure to like and follow us on: FACEBOOK / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM.
We update our website and media pages regularly, so you can stay informed, plan and book your next to Japan as soon as the borders open. We hope it won’t be too much longer until we can again welcome you back to Nagano!
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*Please note, due to restrictions affecting some countries due to COVID-19, we may not be able to send delivery by standard EMS. For some countries, a different delivery service will need to be used with slightly higher rates.