As of the 7th of September 2022, the regulations to enter Japan have been updated, finally introducing the possibility of unaccompanied travel. Moreover, the daily cap for arrivals has been raised to 50,000 pax.
This further relaxation of requirements is a very welcome change for all travel professionals, and we will hereby summarize the most important points.
First of all, let us remind you of the conditions that still remain unchanged.
Travel arrangements must be made through a travel agency.
An ERFS certificate must be obtained through a registered DMC, such as Miki Travel.
A visa is still required to enter the country for non-Japanese citizens. Travellers must apply for their visa at their local consulates before travelling by presenting the ERFS certificate and an application form.
Travellers must present a negative pre-departure PCR-test result
if not exempt (for exemption rules, please refer to the following article in this newsletter).
It is mandatory to purchase travel insurance that covers infection with Covid-19.
All travellers must accept and comply with all local travel regulations such as wearing masks indoors and disinfecting hands when required to.
What changes as of the 07th of September?
The most important changes are the following:
Free time is now allowed (for example as a break during a tour, after the sightseeing, after dinner), as long as the guide is informed.
Full free days are also allowed, subject to informing the guide beforehand.
It is not possible to spend the night in a place different from the booked accommodation.
The guide will remain contactable during the free days or free time in case of emergency.
Travellers can use public transportation freely and without any restrictions.
For unaccompanied tours the following conditions must be met:
Flights and accommodation must be booked through a travel agency. Flight and accommodation bookings made online or through OTAs are not accepted and will not be suitable to apply for an ERFS certificate.
Upon arrival in Japan, independent travellers will be met by a meet & greet assistant who will explain in detail the rules to follow during the trip, provide contact numbers and make sure that all important points are understood and accepted.
Travellers must provide their personal contact details to the travel agent and local DMC, making sure that they are contactable if the need arises (this may mean enabling roaming on the mobile phone, renting a portable Wi-Fi router, or buying a local SIM card).
Travellers must submit all required documentation and follow all entrance procedures as outlined on the website of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
Vaccine certificate to enter Japan: what you should know.
At the end of August the Japanese government finally announced that -starting from the 7th of September- travellers who have received three doses of vaccine and can present a valid vaccination certificate will no longer be required to present a negative PCR test result to enter Japan. Please refer to the grid below for details.
The updated list of blue / yellow / red list countries can be found here.
At the time of writing no countries belong to the red list.
This change was very welcome news, and injected (pun intended!) travel agents with renewed hopes of a more substantial relaxation of the requirements to enter Japan.
The exemption (or lack of it) depends on the type of vaccine that travellers have received; therefore, it is very important to check that all exemption requirements are met before travelling. Here below are the conditions for a valid vaccination certificate.
1. The vaccination certificate including the required information must be issued by an official organisation such as the Japanese government, a local government, a medical institution or other entities that are deemed equivalent.
2. The vaccination certificate shall include the following information written in Japanese or in English: name and surname, date of birth, vaccine name/manufacturer, date of vaccination, number of doses administered.
If the date of birth is not included in the certificate, it may still be considered valid if it contains a passport number or other information that may be used to identify the certificate owner.
If the vaccination certificate is in a language other than Japanese or English, it may be considered valid if it is accompanied by a Japanese or English translation.
3. The certificate must clearly show that you have received 3 doses of any of the following vaccines (vaccine name / major manufacturer). Doses will be considered valid even if they are not of the same vaccine. Here below is the list of accepted vaccines.
COMIRNATY intramuscular injection / Pfizer.
COMIRNATY (manufactured by Fosun Pharma / BioNTech) is treated as identical to COMIRNATY intramuscular injection/Pfizer.
Spikevax intramuscular Injection / Moderna.
Vaxzevria intramuscular Injection / AstraZeneca.
Covishield (manufactured by the Serum Institute of India) is treated as identical to Vaxzevria intramuscular injection/AstraZeneca.
JCOVDEN intramuscular injection / Janssen
(*For JCOVDEN / Janssen vaccine, one dose is considered equivalent to two doses)
COVAXIN / Bharat Biotech
Nuvaxovid intramuscular Injection / Novavax.
COVOVAX (manufactured by the Serum Institute of India) is treated as identical to Nuvaxovid intramuscular injection/Novavax.
For more information and Japan incentive booking, click here.
Author: Deb Davad