On February 12, 2022, the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the government is consider raising Japan travel restrictions for non-resident foreign nationals. Local reports indicate an announcement could be made as early as this week.
Kishida told reporters: “We will take into account the scientific knowledge we have gained about the omicron variant and changes in the infection situation both at home and abroad, as well as immigration measures put in place by other countries. .”
According to The Mainichi, the Japanese government is preparing to raise the cap on the number of people entering Japan from 3,500 a day to 5,000 from March.
This means that previously strict travel restrictions to Japan – which have caused much frustration among internationals wishing to enter the country – could be eased, with bbusiness travelers and students have priority.
At a press conference on February 14, 2022, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said, “Having the toughest border measures among the G7 (major economies) has given us time to prepare for an increase in national cases of Omicron. We are aware that there are various demands and are looking into the matter with a view to relaxing the measures.
Japan has decided to set up strict border closures – which are due to expire at the end of February – in November 2021, when he experienced his first Omicron case.
Can international students expect looser travel restrictions in Japan?
Quoting The Nikkei, The Japan Times said the government plans to start accepting more than 1,000 people a day and gradually raise the cap to several thousand, before border restrictions expire.
Schools and companies are expected to supervise the students and staff they sponsor; upon arrival in Japan, they are encouraged to self-isolate.
Short-term and long-term business visitors can also take advantage of these looser travel restrictions in Japan. Researchers, engineers and employees providing “public benefit” are considered the first to enter Japan.
The quarantine period for travelers arriving in Japan could be reduced to three days from seven. Japanese nationals and foreigners must prove that they have already received a booster shot and have been tested for the virus, to benefit from this reduced period.
The government also plans to ease the mandatory paperwork and selection process.
Separately, Davide Rossi, executive director of Open Borders to Study Safely in Japan, which helps support international students and workers stranded outside Japan, tweeted that while further proposals and discussions on easing travel restrictions in Japan will take place this week, details have yet to be finalized. This includes who can enter and what exactly incoming students should do or know in March.
“Some of the language schools we are in contact with have suggested that we ask our language students to try to contact the office of the Prime Minister of Japan to share the impact the border situation has had on them so that they have that information while they make their final decision,” Rossi said in a Twitter thread.
The announcement on easing travel restrictions in Japan would be good news for many aggrieved students who have been waiting to enter Japan for two years. The government’s efforts to control the pandemic through its rigid border closures have been widely criticized around the world.
International students, technical interns and others affected by the travel ban have aired their grievances on social media, including via the #JapanTravelBan and #EducationIsNotTourism on Twitter.