Japan on Friday began to accept online applications from sponsors, including universities and companies, looking to gain entry permission for foreign students and businesspeople ahead of Tuesday’s loosening of the nation’s stringent entry restrictions.
The sponsors will be required to share the entrant’s information via the Entrants, Returnees Follow-up System (ERFS), which is overseen by the health ministry.
Notifications of successful applications will be sent to sponsors. Visa applicants will then be able to apply for a visa at their nearest Japanese embassy or consulate.
Foreign nationals who receive visas will be able to travel to Japan but will be required to abide by the revised quarantine measures and report their whereabouts and health condition through the ERFS system.
On Thursday, the government also released details of eased border restrictions from March following Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s announcement last week to allow new entries of nontourist foreign nationals.
A total of 37 countries and regions — including Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South Korea and the UAE, but not the U.S. — were designated as omicron hot spots. The designation will determine the quarantine rules for new arrivals.
Quarantine requirements are as follows:
- If you are from one of the 37 countries on the list and have not received a booster shot, a three-day quarantine at a designated facility and a negative test on the third day is required.
- If you are from one of 37 countries and have received a booster shot, a three-day quarantine at home or a venue of your choosing and a negative test on the third day is required. If you don’t take a test, you need to quarantine for seven days.
- If you are not from one of the 37 countries and have not received a booster shot, a three-day quarantine at home or a venue of your choosing and a negative test on the third day is required. If you don’t take a test, you need to quarantine for seven days.
- If you are not from one of the 37 countries and have received a booster shot, you will be exempted from quarantine.
For instance, if you are arriving from the U.S. and have received a booster shot, you do not need to quarantine at all. Children traveling with their parents who are not eligible for a booster shot will be able to go through the same quarantine conditions as their parents.
People who have received the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson will be eligible for shorter quarantine periods.
From March, those arriving from abroad, except for people who must quarantine at designated facilities, will be allowed to use public transportation within 24 hours of their arrival, even during the quarantine period.
The decision to loosen border restrictions followed intensifying calls from universities, business leaders at home and abroad, and even from within the ruling parties.
Frequently asked questions about the restrictions are posted on the ministry’s website in Japanese.
List of countries designated as omicron hot spots:
- Brazil (Sao Paulo and Parana)
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
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