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Due to COVID-19, people who were planning to work and study in Japan were unable to enter the country for quite some time. From September 2020, restrictions regarding entry into the country will be eased. The WeXpats team will introduce the newest information regarding entry into Japan and what to be aware of.
The Japanese government, since the decision on July 22, 2020, has been slowly allowing people abroad who have re-entry permits back into the country. However, this is limited to those who left Japan with a re-entry permit before the date their country was considered “an area subject to denial of permission to entry into Japan” (April 2nd, 2020 is the cutoff date to have left Japan for those in places designated as such before April 3rd). (as of August 17, 2020)
According to the news report on August 22, 2020, Japan is moving to lift these restriction for foreign nationals who have a status of residence from September, 2020. From September 1, “Permanent Resident”，”Spouse or Child of Japanese National”, “Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident” and “Long Term Resident” are scheduled to be those that apply.
International students in Japan arrive in accordance with the start of the spring (April) and fall (October) terms. Due to immigration being restricted because of COVID-19 measures by the Japanese government, there were only a limited number of students able to enter the country before April, thus most international students still unable to enter the country.
The students who have received government scholarships through their local Japanese embassy or university recommendations will be allowed to enter the country first, and after that, the allowance of international students who are paying their own fees is being discussed.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan “Re-entry of foreign nationals with the status of residence” https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001074.html Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan “Entry and Re-entry of Foreign Nationals with Special Exceptional Circumstances” https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page6e_000208.html Asahi Shimbun August 22, 2020 article “Japan expected to ease entry for foreign students in coming weeks” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13658267
As of August 17, 2020, it is necessary to clear 3 conditions to re-enter Japan.
① Have a valid status of residence
② Have a valid re-entry permit (includes special re-entry permit *1)
③ Left Japan before the area/region you are currently in was deemed “an area subject to denial of permission to entry into Japan” (*2)
*1）Regarding Special Re-entry Permit
Foreign nationals who have a status of residence and a valid passport don’t need to obtain a regular re-entry permit as long as one returns to Japan within a year of leaving. (This applies to those other than those designated to stay 3 months or less or are in Japan under “Temporary Visitor”)
Special Re-entry Permit http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/zairyuu/specialre-entrypermit.html
*2）You can check when the area/region you are currently in was deemed “an area subject to denial of permission to entry into Japan” on the Ministry of Justice Website.
If you pass the conditions to re-enter the country, proceed with the following:
The most recent news about re-entry into Japan will be on the websites of the Japanese embassy and Consulate General.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan “Websites of Japanese Embassies, Consulates and Permanent Missions” https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/annai/zaigai/list/index.html（Japanese）https://www.mofa.go.jp/about/emb_cons/mofaserv.html（English）
In order to re-enter Japan, you need the following 2 documents:
①Certificate of proof that you tested negative for COVID-19
②Receive “Letter of Confirmation of Submitting Required Documentation for Reentry into Japan” from a Japanese embassy or Consulate General of the country you are in
You need a certificate of proof that you tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of leaving the country. Download the following document and have the doctor fill it out and sign or stamp the document with their seal.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan “Certificate of Testing for COVID-19” (Word Document) https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/ca/fna/page25_001994.html
Turn in the following documents to the Japanese embassy or Consulate General of the country you are in and receive a “Letter of Confirmation of Submitting Required Documentation for Reentry into Japan”. Once contacted that this is letter is ready, you (the applicant) or a representative of the applicant can go pick it up. Please note that this letter will not be ready on the same day that you apply for it.
・Passport（with a valid re-entry or special re-entry permit）
・Application form for Letter of Confirmation
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan “Process and Required Documents for Re-entry" https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page25e_000334.html
Once you have both your certificate of proof that you tested negative for COVID-19 and your “Letter of Confirmation of Submitting Required Documentation for Reentry into Japan”, buy a plane ticket to Japan.
Once you arrive in Japan, you will need a place you can quarantine for 14 days starting the day after you arrive. The places you can do so are your home, a relative’s home, a friend’s home, a monthly short-term apartment, or a hotel you reserved yourself. (Guesthouses and rentals such as Airbnbs, places where many people use the same toilet and bathing facilities are excluded.)
Ministry of Health Labor and Welfare “Q&A regarding COVID-19 Measures - 3. Places to Stay” https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/kenkou_iryou/covid19_qa_kanrenkigyou_00001.html#Q1-1 (Japanese) https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/kenkou_iryou/covid19_qa_kanrenkigyou_00003.html (English)
After your arrival in Japan, you will need to use a non-public method of transportation (your own car, rental car) from the airport to the place you will stay to quarantine. This means you cannot use trains, buses, regular taxis or planes. According to the list of reserved taxis for hire approved by the Ministry of Health Labor and Welfare, a hired taxi would cost from 35,000 yen to get from Narita Airport to Tokyo.
＜List of Taxis for hire that have English service＞
Kasumi Tokyo Taxi & Hire Company: http://www.kasumi-taxi.jp/Returnee-transfer-A.html
Tokyo MK group: https://en.tokyomk.com/hire-plans
List of Approved Taxis for Hire https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/newpage_00020.html Ministry of Health Labor and Welfare “Q&A regarding COVID-19 Measures - 4. About Means of Transportation” https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/kenkou_iryou/covid19_qa_kanrenkigyou_00003.html (English)
This is what you will need to do once you arrive in Japan.
All persons who have been to countries considered “an area subject to denial of permission to entry into Japan” must take a PCR test at the airport and stay in the designated area until the results are ready. The results may take anywhere from a few hours up to 2 days. As of August 7, 2020, the only people who can wait for the results at their home are people utilizing Fukuoka Airport. People flying into Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Kansai International Airport must wait for the results at the airport. Please note that you cannot go to the place that you reserved for quarantine until you get your test results.
Ministry of Health Labor and Welfare “Q&A regarding COVID-19 Measures” https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/kenkou_iryou/covid19_qa_kanrenkigyou_00003.html
When you take the test, you will fill out and submit the following documents
・LINE App Agreement to Terms and Conditions（For those who have a Japanese phone number）
For 14 days after arrival, a health follow-up must be done every day (method of contact will be based on the information you provide on the questionnaire). For those with LINE and to those who agreed to the terms and conditions, the health follow-up can be done through LINE.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan “Phased Measures for Resuming Cross-Border Travel https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/cp/page22e_000925.html
If you test negative on the PCR test, go to the place you intend to quarantine in and stay there for 14 days (counted from the day after you arrive in Japan). Do not leave the place you designated as your place of quarantine or use public transportation during the 14 days. If you test positive, please follow the instructions of the airport quarantine office.
If you have any questions, please ask WeXpats at WeXpats Forum:
We don’t know how long the effects of COVID-19 will last but the writers team here at WeXpats hopes that everyone can come safely to Japan soon.
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