Japan, a country closed for most non-citizen/resident arrivals since March 2020, is planning to slightly relax the quarantine requirement for those who have been vaccinated.
According to Nikkei and NHK, the government would cut the home/hotel quarantine from 14 to 10 days for those inoculated with Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccines and who have a certificate issued the United States, European Union, or Japan.
These changes would first apply to Japanese nationals and those foreigners who reside in the country or hold visas to visit.
Japan would continue stricter quarantine requirements for those from virus variant areas that need to stay at government-mandated hotels for 14 days.
Here’s an excerpt from the NHK:
The government currently asks everyone who arrives from overseas to remain isolated at home or in accommodation facilities for 14 days.
But the government is thinking of reducing the period to 10 days, saying that it needs to bring social and economic activities back to normal in phases as the global vaccination rollout is making progress.
The government plans to reduce the period for only those inoculated with the Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccines. They will also have to carry vaccine certificates issued by Japan, the United States, or the European Union for the time being.
And from Nikkei:
Currently, Japan is refusing new entry by foreigners in principle due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the time being, the easing of quarantine measures would likely be applied only to Japanese citizens and foreign residents who already have visas for staying in Japan.
Japan will consider exemptions to a more stringent quarantine protocol applied to travelers from areas where the highly infectious delta variant is prevalent. That protocol requires spending up to 10 of the 14 days of self-isolation at a designated quarantine facility. The list of applicable countries will be worked out going forward.
The government looks to loosen these restrictions on a trial basis starting next month, with a full rollout in November, based on its target of administering vaccines to all eligible people who want them by October or November.
Japan was a bit slow at putting up the barriers to enter last year, and I could squeeze in just before the border was sealed for most non-citizen arrivals (foreign residents were not allowed back for months).
I wouldn’t expect Japan to fully allow foreign visitor arrivals before the second half of 2022, and even then, only those who have been fully vaccinated.
It is good to have some relaxation in entry requirements, however small.