Health Alert – December 28, 2020

Location: Japan
Date: December 28, 2020

Updated Travel Restrictions

To contain the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Japan will reimplement strict travel regulations barring most foreign entry into Japan effective Monday, December 28. While Japanese citizens and foreign residents with a reentry permit will be generally permitted to reenter the country, these reimplemented restrictions include suspension of short-term travel programs, suspension of quarantine relaxations for certain travelers, imposition of travel deadlines for already-issued visas, and enhanced COVID-19 screening protocols for travelers arriving from specific destinations. Foreign travelers who were present in designated areas, including the United Kingdom and South Africa, within 14 days or arrival in Japan may not be permitted to enter the country regardless of purpose. Visa free travel, and all travel for tourism, remains suspended. U.S. citizens without a current visa who have urgent need to travel to Japan should consult with their nearest Japanese embassy or consulate. Similarly, travelers with valid travel visas wishing to enter Japan should also confirm the validity of relevant travel documents along with any conditions of entry with the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate prior to starting onward travel to Japan.

Regardless of the international point of origin, all travelers entering Japan remain subject to a 14-day self-quarantine upon arrival and are prohibited from using public transportation to include domestic flights, taxis, and rail.

Travelers seeking to transit Japan en route to onward international destinations may continue to do so without quarantine as long as the transit occurs within the same airport. For information on Japan’s updated travel restrictions, please see these websites:

The U.S. Embassy strongly urges any U.S. citizens considering travel to Japan to review carefully the information available from the Government of Japan.

Please note: These complex regulations are subject to change with little notice. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to intervene on behalf of travelers denied boarding at their point of embarkation or denied entry upon arrival to Japan is extremely limited, and those travelers denied entry at Japanese ports of entry will likely be immediately reboarded on flights back to the United States.

For questions regarding the government of Japan’s travel restrictions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides contact information in Section Five of this website.

COVID-19 in Japan

The U.S. Embassy and consulates continue to monitor closely COVID-19 conditions in Japan. Case numbers continue to rise throughout the country, and healthcare capacity remains strained. Prefectural and local governments are announcing new COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Tokyo Governor Koike continues to urge residents to minimize outings and reconsider traveling during the New Year period. Other leaders, including those in the Kansai region, have made similar requests. The new COVID-19 variant originally identified in the United Kingdom has been identified in Japan.

The Government of Japan has renewed calls for residents to wear masks and take other common-sense COVID-19 mitigation precautions. Residents should continue to avoid the “Three Cs:” closed spaces, crowded spaces, and close-contact settings.

U.S. citizens should continue to follow all measures introduced by Japanese national and local government officials to mitigate COVID-19 outbreaks in their areas. To reduce the spread of infection, U.S. citizens should consider minimizing their travel over the New Year holiday period.

U.S. citizens are strongly urged to continue to take personal health measures to protect themselves, including social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation.

U.S. Mission Japan personnel continue to follow practices recommended by the U.S. and Japanese Governments, including social distancing and mask wearing, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The United States Government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas.  Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination. U.S. citizens in Japan should consult with their medical providers. U.S. military members traveling under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) have different travel regulations governing their entry into Japan. They should check with their command before commencing any travel to ensure they comply with all necessary requirements. The U.S. Embassy and consulates cannot answer questions about SOFA travel. Additionally, United States Forces Japan bases have instituted a number of restrictions based on local conditions. Many restrictions are specific to individual bases or areas. For more information, please contact base command officials.

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