In recent days, you have probably seen many misleading headlines (to use no more trivial term) announcing a resumption of tourism in Japan on June 10.
Or in any case, it’s such a pernicious trick that it allows us to affirm frankly that Fumio Kishida, the Japanese Prime Minister, lied in front of the world when he swore and spat during a trip to London in early May that the archipelago was going “align its border restrictions with those of other G7 countries“. And it’s even more true since June 12 since the United States no longer asks for any PCR test before arriving on its territory.
Thus, Japan itself has become the “sticking nail” that it hates so much.
So let’s focus on the real progress and prospects for visiting Japan these next few months.
👨👩👧👦 Who can enter Japan since March 2022?
Remember that since March 1, all visas except tourists are again accepted in Japan:
- students short and (especially) long term;
- professionalstrainees, associations, artists and even PVT under sponsors;
- spouses and families of Japanese residents.
Since this reopening just over 3 months ago, hundreds of thousands of foreigners have entered Japan and the curve of new Covid cases 🦠 kept falling.
Moreover, quite ironically, the vast majority of these short-stay travelers (less than 3 months) are given stamps on their passports “temporary visitors“which are none other than tourist visas in disguise:
From 5,000 initially, the maximum number of daily entries in Japan has increased to 10,000 since April 10.
By way of comparison, the average was more around the 100,000 per day in 2019, pre-Covid, with peaks at nearly 300,000 in April and July. But the Chinese, Hong Kongers and Taiwanese, now almost forbidden to leave their territory, accounted for 45% (and France for 1%).
🚶 Test circuits from May 24 to June 4
For ten days between the end of May and the beginning of June, test circuits were held in Japan as a first phase of preparation for the resumption of tourism.
While Japan is only 41st globally in the global Covid resilience ranking (France being 17th), their conditions were drastic :
- 50 tourism professionals (some of Japanese origin) triple-vaccinated, divided into 15 groups;
- from only 4 countries: United States (Hawaii), Australia, Singapore and Thailand;
- a few days of a pre-organized and permanently supervised trip;
- only 12 of Japan’s 47 prefectures participated (Ishikawa, Nagano, Fukuoka, Tochigi, Iwate, Yamagata, etc. but not Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido or Okinawa);
- managed exclusively by only 2 Japanese travel agencies close to power;
- obtaining for each traveler an exceptional visa upstream;
- daily temperature taking accompanied by regular antigenic tests.
This last point also led to one of the tours being stopped dead in its tracks: 1 of the 4 Thais in a group tested positive after 5 days of travel (he was therefore able to catch the Covid directly in Japan) and the All the travelers immediately found themselves in quarantine.
🚦 What changed on June 1st
1️⃣ The daily quota of authorized entries, which continues to increase, has increased to 20,000 people.
2️⃣ A list of countries in the world has been established, with simplified entry conditions for each group:
- 🔵 blue (80% of travelers – 98 countries including all of Europe and of course France):
- no Covid test to be carried out on landing
- no quarantine even for non-vaccinated !
- 🟡 yellow (another hundred countries):
- no Covid test to be carried out on landing
- no quarantine for vaccinated / home quarantine for non-vaccinated
- 🔴 red (Albania, Sierra Leone, Pakistan, Fiji):
- Covid test to be carried out on landing
- quarantine of 3 to 7 days in a government hotel, even for those vaccinated
The negative PCR test 72 hours before departure remains essential in all cases.
3️⃣ People brides (even the cohabitants) can theoretically claim a visa but in reality, it remains so long and convoluted that even the Embassies / Consulates get lost and do not know how to go about it.
It seems almost wiser to wait to enter like a normal tourist.
Furthermore, the mask 😷 no longer recommended outdoors, in particular for fear of heatstroke, but social pressure means that the population still has a little trouble getting rid of it. However, the Japanese government believes in preventing “bad manners” from foreigners and insists on the need for them to follow the rules.
🚧 The trompe-l’oeil relief of June 10
This famous reopening of tourism on June 10 is in reality only an extension to all the blue countries of these “North Korean” tours, just watered down.
The rather timid reductions announced therefore only offer few concrete improvements for a large majority of travelers nearly 800 days after closing.
- the journey is always pre-arranged and guided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (the guide must share all meals during the stay with you and the agency is responsible for your travel);
- the mask is mandatory at all timeseven outside, otherwise travelers cannot leave the hotel or will even be escorted back to the border;
- the respect for social distancing as well as the avoidance of most frequented places and peak hours (transport, catering);
- a medical insurance is required and any Covid infection must be reported immediately (signifying of course the end of the stay for the patient and his case-contacts), up to 7 days after the end of the trip;
- a reporting complete of the stay must be kept by the agency (including the exact places where each traveler ate and sat in transport) to be able to be submitted to immigration in the event of control;
- of the infantilizing behavioral recommendations are issued by the Japan National Tourist Board;
- obtaining a visa is required and the guarantor agency must file a prior individual declaration on the ERFS platform in order to obtain an identification number via QR Code which allows each visa to be collected from the nearest Embassy or Consulate, to be provided to immigration to enter Japan.
Certainly, some relaxations remain appreciable:
- there is no more limit on the number of travelers in each group (this can be from 1 to infinity);
- there is no longer any restriction by prefecture, all of Japan is accessible to travellers;
- itinerary does not need to be submitted in advance to immigration;
- any authorized agency in Japan can organize the stay, even if its head office is outside Japan (it simply needs a subsidiary on the archipelago);
- the guide did not no need to be a guide-interpreter prohibitively expensive, now the simple certification of national guide is enough (but it remains essential and expensive) because it must still be registered in Japan;
- travelers can book their own flights and hotels 🏨.
However, they do not sufficiently compensate for the overall rigor of these circuits.
Everyone will thus understand, on reading these conditions, that it is not a question of a real tourist recovery, but of a semantic scheme aimed at making to gain time between now and the critical parliamentary elections of July 10whose campaign starts on June 22.
However, if these instructions seem acceptable to you, do not hesitate to contact your approved travel agency to book your trip because places will be limited to the number of guides available this summer.
🛂 When will tourists be able to enter without constraints?
This is the eternal question. We believe it will be possible From September onwardsdepending on the continuation of pressures (internal and international) as well as of course the health situation.
We explained it at the beginning of March:
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For July, 2 points are already almost certain:
- the daily entry quota will increase to 30,000 (a figure that is finally reasonable for the start of a tourist recovery) and could even be eliminated;
- the domestic tourism subsidy campaign GoTo Travel would be back (perhaps even from the end of June) but under another name.
In the meantime, the stars do not need to wait:
- Tom Cruise met his Japanese fans with a big, unmasked smile;
- this summer, music festivals in Japan will welcome a compact crowd when singers like Halsey, Post Malone or even Megan Thee Stallion come (but the Fuji Rock Festival, lunar, calls for wearing a mask, distancing and not scream during concerts!).
So this damn calendar exists in defiance of all scientific and economic logic but by pure political agenda of the Kishida clan in the ruling party.
Except that now more than 2/3 of the Japanese population are in favor of reopening borders.