As a first step to implementing a system for broadening entry into the country, the Japanese government is currently engaging in discussions to begin permitting entry of certain individuals from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand for business purposes, including management, executives, specialists, technical trainees and internal company transferees.  As discussed in our prior blog post, these four countries are among the 111 countries whose visitors are largely restricted from entering Japan.  Although individuals who are permitted into the country will be exempt from the overarching travel restrictions currently in place (e.g., 14 day self-isolation in Japan upon landing), such individuals will be permitted to travel within Japan only for specified work purposes (discussed below) and will be banned from using public transportation for two weeks upon landing in Japan.

Prior to departure, the Japanese government is considering requiring submission to the Japanese embassy of the requesting traveler’s host country (1) a confirmation of negative test results after PCR testing for COVID-19 and (2) a description of the planned itinerary while in Japan as well as location of stay.  Upon approval, a visa will be issued for the permitted traveler which will include the details with respect to item (2).  Another requirement being considered is a description from the hosting company in Japan explaining the need for the individual’s travel to Japan and the management system for such individual’s travel while in Japan.  Permitted travelers into the country will be required to take another PCR test at the airport in Japan upon landing.

Depending on the outcome of discussions between Japan and the aforementioned four countries, it is possible for entry of individuals for business purposes to begin at some point during the summer at the earliest.  The Japanese government had previously announced that it is considering a three-step plan for permitting entry of visitors from specifically permitted countries, first of businesspersons, followed by international students and lastly tourists.

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