Effective 1 October (0:00, JST), Japan is reducing the self-isolation period from 14 to 10 days for fully vaccinated travellers with one of the three COVID-19 vaccines authorised by the Japanese government, Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, by reporting the negative test result (PCR test or Quantitative Antigen Test) on or after the tenth day to the authority.1
WHY THIS MATTERS
The government of Japan has shortened the quarantine period for those travellers who have received two doses of the Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccine at least 14 days prior to travel to Japan. This should reduce the burdens around moving eligible, vaccinated employees living in Japan.
However, Japan continues to enforce strict travel regulations that ban nonresident foreign nationals including tourists and business travellers from entering the country. (Nonresident foreign nationals are allowed to enter only if the case was approved as “special exceptional circumstances”.2)
End State of Emergency in All Regions
As COVID-19 infection cases have declined from their peak, the state of emergency in place in Tokyo and 18 other prefectures and the quasi-state of emergency covered in eight prefectures were lifted on 1 October.3 It is the first time since 4 April this year that none of the country’s 47 prefectures has been under a state of emergency or quasi-state of emergency. The emergency has mainly involved “requests” for restaurants and bars to reduce their opening hours (close by 20:00) and not serve alcohol. Although the emergency has lifted, the local prefectural governments may maintain certain restrictions while closely monitoring the local infection status.4
Maintain Entry Ban on Nonresident Foreign Nationals
The government of Japan is keeping the country’s borders closed for nonresident foreign nationals until further notice. As a consequence, visa applications at Japanese embassies/consulates are suspended until the entry ban is lifted.5 Japanese nationals and foreign residents with a valid Residence Card and a Re-Entry Permit are allowed to enter Japan but must comply with strict pre-/post-travel testing requirements and quarantine upon arrival.
Required Pre-/Post-Travel Requirements
1. Daily temperature check for 14-days prior to the departure to Japan: All travellers inbound to Japan6 must check their temperature for 14 days prior to the departure and if any of the common symptoms of COVID-19, including fever of 37.5°C or higher, respiratory symptoms, and/or strong feeling of weariness (fatigue) are recognised, the trip to Japan must be cancelled. It is not necessary to submit the result of this health monitoring for 14 days prior to the departure before travelling to Japan. Instead this result must be correctly noted in the questionnaire form upon arrival.
2. PCR test within 72 hours before departure7
All travellers inbound to Japan must take the PCR test within 72 hours of flight departure and prove a negative test result by obtaining a Certificate of Testing for COVID-19 from a medical facility in the departure country. The certificate must be presented in the prescribed format8 (検査証明書/Certificate of Testing for COVID-19) to the Japanese government. Failure to complete the prescribed form as required by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare may result in denied entry to Japan. Travellers arriving without proof of pre-travel COVID-19 testing completed no more than 72 hours in advance of the departure of their international flight may be denied entry into Japan.
3. Complete a Questionnaire
4. Quarantine requirements9
In principle, 14 days of self-isolation is required but as of 1 October, the quarantine period for fully vaccinated travellers is reduced to 10 days if the travellers fulfil the following criteria:
I. Entering from:
- “undesignated countries/regions,” then the traveller is required to stay at the accommodation designated by the Japanese government; or
- “designated countries/regions,” then the traveller is required stay for 3 days upon arrival at the accommodation designated by the Japanese government.
⇒ If the traveller is fully vaccinated and obtained a sufficient vaccination certificate, he/she is exempted from the 3-days stay at the government-designated accommodation, though the traveller still needs to stay at home during the designated quarantined period.
[NOTE] The above measures are NOT applied to children who are not able to get vaccinated because of the age restriction.
II. The traveller obtained the vaccination certificate issued by a public institution in a country/region listed.10
III. The vaccination certificate must be written in either Japanese or English, and clearly state the following items:
① Name (must be the same as on the passport);
② Date of birth;
③ Vaccine name/manufacture;
④ Date of vaccination;
⑤ Dose of vaccines administered.
[NOTE] If the certificate is written in a language other than Japanese or English, the traveller will need a Japanese or English translation.
IV. Vaccination must be one of the following:
① COMIRNATY – by Pfizer;
② COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna – by Moderna;
③ Vaxzevria – by AstraZeneca.
V. The traveller must have received at least two doses of the vaccines (listed above).
VI. At least 14 days have passed since the second dose on the date of entry.
[Note] 14-days must be counted from the day after the second dose.
VII. The traveller must take a PCR test at the designated medical institution or clinical laboratory on the tenth day from arrival. If the traveller is negative, he or she will be exempt from the rest of the self-isolation period within 14 days.
[NOTE] The traveller is required to refrain from using public transportation until his or her quarantine period is confirmed at an end by the authority. The traveller will need to use a private car or arrange a vehicle with a driver when he or she goes to get a test on tenth day. See more details below.
- Date of arrival does not count as the “first” day. The traveller must count from the day after his/her arrival date.
- The traveller must install and set-up the designated mobile applications – MySoS (Health and Location Monitoring App), COCOA (COVID-19 contact tracing App), and Google Map (Location Information App).11 The traveller is required to report his/her health condition to the authority via mobile application.
- The traveller is prohibited to use any means of public transportation, including taxis, for 14 days upon arrival – e.g., he/she must arrange either a private car or arrange a vehicle with a driver from one of the listed companies confirmed by the government: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/newpage_00020.html .
1 Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (in English)
2 Ministry of Justice (in English)
3 Prime Minister’s Office of Japan (in Japanese): https://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/99_suga/actions/202110/01bura.html.
5 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (in English): https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html.
6 Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (in Japanese): https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/0000121431_00209.html.
7 Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (in English)
8 Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (in Japanese)
9 Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (in Japanese and English): https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/000799426.pdf.
10 Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (in English)
11 Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (in English)
* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Japan.
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