Japan Will Ease Border Restrictions in June 2022, per Prime Minister Kishida in a speech yesterday at London's Guildhall. Specifically, Kishida suggested that Japan would have a “smoother entry process similar to that of other G7 countries.” In addition to Japan and the U.S., the G7 includes the UK, Canada, France, Germany and Italy. At time of writing, all of them except for Japan are open to vaccinated tourists. Only the U.S. still requires fully vaccinated visitors to provide negative results from a COVID-19 test taken the day before departure to the U.S.
Kishida's words (although he walked them back a bit in a later press conference, where he noted the easing would be implemented in stages, based on the advice of experts) imply a reopening to international tourism, similar to other G7 nations. This could be a boon for U.S. visitors in particular, who would benefit from the current strong dollar to yen exchange rate (see Strong Dollar vs. Euro, Japanese Yen: Good News for U.S. Travelers).
Here's the relevant text from the translation of Kishida's speech, our bolding added:
“At the end of last year, Japan strengthened its border control measures in response to the global spread of the Omicron variant. It was an essential public-health step to delay the variant’s entry into the country. This allowed us to fortify our healthcare system and promote vaccinations. I hope it is not too boastful to say that Japan’s response to COVID-19 has been one of the most successful in the world.
We have now eased border control measures significantly, with the next easing taking place in June, when Japan will introduce a smoother entry process similar to that of other G7 members.”
While it's true that Japan hasn't suffered the kind of death tally of the U.S. from COVID-19, Kishida can thank the healthier Japanese population and lower socio-economic disparities for much of that outcome. We wouldn't necessarily describe Japan's COVID-19 vaccine roll-out as one of the most successful in the world, given its late start due to Japanese laws requiring vaccine testing in Japan as opposed to taking into account other large scale vaccine trials in other countries. And even now, Japan trails countries such as Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Denmark and Canada in terms of fully vaccinated individuals.
As we mentioned in Why Japan Hasn't Reopened to International Visitors, Japan considers a booster dose essential to be considered fully vaccinated, so it's likely that this will be required for at least international adult visitors. Ultimately we'll have to wait for further official guidance on what the “easing” will mean for international visitors to Japan come June 2022.
Read a translation of the entire speech.
If you're planning future travel to Japan, do you hope to visit in 2022?
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