The Government of Japan has opened the Online Registration Portal for their Trusted Traveler Program which will allow approved participants to use the Automated Entry Gates at Japanese airports.
Enrolling in this program could help to breeze through the flow of arriving passengers at Japanese airports, especially in Tokyo and Osaka, where the longest wait times occur.
You can access the sign up website of the Japanese Government here.
When I used my Firefox browser I got a security warning at first so be prepared to experience the same when you access the URL.
The system shows similarities to GOES, the U.S. counterpart of this program that allows registration for Global Entry.
The list of countries eligible is quite extensive and includes almost all Visa Waiver eligible nations including those in the Asia Pacific Region (Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand etc).
In the next section, there is a field that is specifically for U.S. passport holders enrolled in Global Entry, asking for the PASS ID and quotes there will be a security check. It only mentions U.S. Passport Holders and not foreign nationals with Global Entry clearance so I did not enter my PASS ID.
The conditions are relatively straight forward and they ask for employment information in a way that you have to disclose if you work for a Japanese Corporation or a NGO.
I read a bit on Flyertalk about this and it appears that U.S. citizens are being asked to pay 2,200 JPY at some point. I was not asked for this during my enrollment and didn’t see a payment function anywhere.
On top the website asks to upload a face picture for the “Entry Card” even though I can’t see it saying that a physical card would be issued. I have applied for now and uploaded some documents. Let’s see how the processing goes!
Citizens of APEC countries including Canada and the U.S. should also consider applying for the APEC Travel Card which is relatively easy to get and can be used for special immigration lanes throughout the Asia Pacific region.
The website offers very little explanation as of now of how the enrollment actually works once the background checks are completed.One example is the charge for U.S. citizens that isn’t displayed for other nationalities. What exactly is this payment for? Will those affected receive a physical card or is it just a reciprocal fee?
I have used the Automated Entry Gates in Japan before as I had a valid registration for 3 years but didn’t bother to renew it. The machines have sometimes been unable to properly scan the passport properly and it ended up costing me more time to use the machine than to just walk up to the next available counter.