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Japan eases up on entry rules

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SINGAPORE, 5 September 2022: Japan will ease entry rules starting 7 September, allowing independent tourists to enter the country if they book their holiday package through a travel agency.

The new rule ends the need to travel in a group package organised by authorised tour agents. The country reopened to escorted group tours in June and is now easing the rule to allow travellers to book unescorted “package tours.”

The Japan Times last week also confirmed that the country would raise its daily arrival cap to 50,000 visitors, up from the 20,000 daily maximum that has also been in place since June.

Under the new rules, tourists will no longer need an escort, but they will still need “sponsors” or travel agencies in Japan to endorse their itinerary to allow them to enter the country.

Japan will abolish the need for fully vaccinated visitors (three jabs) to submit proof of a negative Covid-19 within 72 hours of their flight departure, effective 7 September.

The country immigration agency confirmed: “From 0:00 am (JST) on 7 September 2022, based on the New Border Measures (31), among all cross-border travellers and returnees from countries/regions where the B.1.1.529 Omicron variant becomes dominant, persons who possess a valid vaccination certificate of Covid-19 will be no longer required to submit the certificate of a negative result of pre-departure Covid-19 test within 72 hours before departing from the original country/region.”

Blue zone countries in the Asia Pacific

The new rules apply to travellers from around 150 countries identified on a Blue Zone List.
In the Asia Pacific, they are:

Indonesia, Australia, Republic of Korea, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, China, New Zealand, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Bangladesh, East Timor, Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia, and Laos

According to national tourism data provided by JNTO, just over 8,000 foreign tourists have visited the country since it started the reopening phase in July.

Japan maintains some of the strictest border rules in the region when compared with countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore which have dropped all testing and quarantine requirements allowing visitors to travel freely.

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