Effective 1 March 2022 (00:00 am, JST), Japan is easing border restrictions, allowing foreign new arrivals including business travellers, students, and technical trainees, except tourists, to finally enter Japan.  Under the new measures, the daily entry cap will be raised to 5,000 from the current 3,500, and the quarantine period can be shortened up to three days or the traveller may be exempt by fulfilling certain conditions.1

WHY THIS MATTERS

The government of Japan has announced an easing of border controls from 1 March 2022.  This will allow new arrivals of foreign nationals for purposes other than tourism.  Japan had partially eased its entry restrictions for foreign nationals on 8 November last year but had re-shut its borders only three weeks later due to the rapid spread of omicron variant in the world (for prior coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2021-296, 2 December 2021).  Japan has become one of the world’s most difficult countries to enter for foreign nationals; therefore, with this first major reopening of Japan’s borders in more than a year, entry and exit should become easier. 

Visa applications made at Japanese embassies/consulates which had been suspended due to the entry ban, are once again possible from 1 March.  

New Measures for Border Enforcements from 1 March 2022

Effective 1 March (00:00 am, JST), new entries of foreign nationals into Japan under the supervision of host entities/organisations are allowed, except for the purpose of tourism.  It is required that entrants have a host entity/organisation located in Japan that takes full responsibilities in respect of quarantine rules imposed by the government of Japan.  Host entities/organisations must complete prescribed online applications in “Entrants, Returnees Follow-up System (ERFS)” for “Certificate for Completion of Registration to the ERFS system” prior to the visa application being made.2  Under the new entry measure, the Japanese embassy/consulate does not accept a visa application without a copy of the “Certificate for Completion of Registration to the ERFS system” issued by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.  This is a certificate that proves the registration of the entrant’s information including the location for self-isolation upon arrival and the responsible host entity/organisation.  Online applications are available from the link : https://entry.hco.mhlw.go.jp/ .  In terms of the processing time for online applications, completion can be achieved on the same day or within a couple days at maximum.

New Quarantine Rule

In principle, the self-quarantine period and the inability to use using public transportation remains in place for seven days; however, the period can be eased by fulfilling certain conditions.3

1.       Individuals travelling from the designated countries/regions and who haven’t received a booster dose, are required to stay at a government-designated hotel for three days upon arrival.  If the result of the PCR test was “negative” for COVID-19 on the third day from an individual’s arrival, that person will no longer be required to continue the rest of his/her self-isolation at home.

2.       Those who are travelling from the designated countries/regions and who hold a valid vaccination certificate evidencing their booster dose are required to complete seven days of self-isolation at home in principle, but if the traveller takes a PCR test on the third day from his/her arrival day and receives a “negative” test result, he/she can end the self-isolation at home.

3.       Those who are travelling from non-designated countries/regions who haven’t received a booster dose are required to complete seven days of self-quarantine at home; but if the traveller takes a PCR test on the third day from his/her arrival day and receives a “negative” test result, he/she can end the self-isolation at home.

4.       Those who are travelling from non-designated countries/regions and hold a valid vaccination certificate of a booster dose are no longer required to self-quarantine upon arrival.

 

  Vaccination certificate 0 day Arrival day 1st – 3rd day 4th – 7th day

Entry from designated countries/regions

No PCR test at the quarantine station at the airport  3-day quarantine at the government-designated hotel + PCR test on the third day.  If negative, no further self-quarantine.
Yes 7-day self-quarantine at home if you don’t take a PCR test on the third day.

Entry from non-designated countries/regions

No Self-quarantine at home for 3 day + PCR test on the third day. 

If negative, no further self-quarantine upon receiving the confirmation from the quarantine station.  

Yes 7-day self-quarantine at home if you don’t take a PCR test on the third day.
Exempt from quarantine. 

Source: KPMG in Japan

[Approved types of vaccination fo entry]

  •  1st and 2nd dose
    • COMIRNATY – Pfizer
    • Vaxzervia – AstraZeneca
    • COVID- Vaccine Moderna – Moderna
    • Janssen COVID- Vaccine – Johnson & Johnson
  • 3rd dose onwards
    • COMIRNATY – Pfizer
    • COVID- Vaccine Moderna – Moderna

※     Vaccination Certificate must be issued by an official body such as a government of the countries/regions and must be written in either the Japanese or English language.  The certificate must clearly state the traveller’s name, date of birth, vaccine name or manufacturer, vaccination date, and number of doses.

※     List of designated countries/regions are regularly updated.  Travellers should check the latest information and follow the applicable rules. 

New Rules for Use of Public Transportation upon Arrival

Public transportation can be used to get to the location of self-quarantine within 24 hours of entering Japan.  The entrants are not allowed to use public transportation when leaving home to the PCR test centre on the third day; the host entity/organisation must arrange a private car. 

Necessary Procedures at the Quarantine Station upon Arrival

Entry will be denied if arrivals lack any of the below4:

1.  Certificate of negative test result of COVID-195

  • ALL entrants regardless of nationality or countries/regions of departure must present a certificate of pre-entry PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure and certified as “negative” by the local medical institution.

2.  PCR test at the arrival airport and quarantine at home or in the hotel designated by the government

  • Follow the rule explained the above [New quarantine rule] in accordance with one’s departure country/region.

3.  Submit Written Pledge6

  • ALL entrants regardless of nationality or countries/regions of departure must submit a written pledge.  The format is available from: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/000863646.pdf .
  • Violation of the quarantine rules is subject to publication of the name of the foreign national/violator and his/her host entity’s/organisation’s name, as well as details of the violation on the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website.  In addition, the foreign resident/violator may also have to forfeit his/her immigration status in Japan depending on the gravity of the violation.

4.  Install mobile applications7

  • Health and Location Monitoring ALL (MySoS)
  • Location Information App (Google Maps)
  • COCOA (COVID-19 Contact Confirmation App). 

5.  Questionnaire8

Complete before arrival from your smartphone or PC:

https://arqs-qa.followup.mhlw.go.jp

6.  Vaccination Certificate (not mandatory).9

FOOTNOTES

1  "Japan to raise COVID entry cap, cut quarantine period from March," Kyodo News (17 February 2022) at:  https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/02/96fe946ebc1c-breaking-news-japan-to-relax-covid-19-border-controls-from-march-kishida.htmlPlease note that by clicking on this link, you are leaving the KPMG website for an external site, that KPMG is not affiliated with nor is KPMG endorsing its content.  The use of the external site and its content may be subject to the terms of use and/or privacy policies of its owner or operator.

2  Ministry of Foreign Affairs https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page22e_000921.html .

3  Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/0000121431_00342.html 

4  Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/0000121431_00209.html.

5  Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/0000121431_00248.html 

6  Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/000863646.pdf.

7  Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: https://www.hco.mhlw.go.jp/manual/pdf-en/detail.pdf.

8  Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: https://arqs-qa.followup.mhlw.go.jp/#/.

9  Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/0000121431_00342.html.

* 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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