A negative PCR test is a condition for entry. Masks must also be worn and insurance taken out.
Japan is allowing foreign tourists into the country for the first time in more than two years – but only under strict conditions. From Friday onwards, only guided tour groups will be allowed to enter.
To protect against corona disease, foreign visitors must wear a mask, take out additional health insurance and be accompanied by a tour guide from arrival to departure. This provides for guidelines that the Ministry of Tourism has now published.
PCR test, mask and insurance
First of all, entry for tourists from 98 countries will be allowed again – including Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Before starting the journey, they must take a PCR test. Travel agents must ensure tourists agree to wearing masks and take out insurance to cover Covid-related medical costs.
Visitors must also agree to avoid closed spaces and crowded places and to keep their distance. The 16-page guidelines also require agencies to ensure that tour guides keep accurate records of the designated route and of participants’ contacts. Anyone who does not comply with the requirements is threatened with an end to the group trip.
The guidelines are based on the experience of test tours with participants from the USA, Thailand, Singapore and Australia. A group of four from Thailand had a corona case, after which the tour was canceled.
Individual tourists have to wait
With the gradual restart, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida wants to avoid a rush of entry with many corona cases before the upcoming elections to the upper house of parliament in July. An opening for individual tourists is only expected afterwards.
Tourism is an important industry for Japan. In 2020, up to 40 million foreign visitors were actually expected. However, due to the pandemic, Japan completely closed its borders to foreign tourists in April 2020. After criticism of its lockdown policy, Japan this month raised the cap on entries to 20,000 per day. But that includes all groups of people.