All Japan’s foreign residents can travel in and out from September
Japan Times -- Aug 29
Starting from September, Japan will loosen its widely criticized entry restrictions on travelers from abroad, allowing all its foreign residents with a legal residence status to travel freely and thus enabling those seeking re-entry to the country to return, government officials said Friday.

However, travel will be subject to some conditions, including pre-entry tests for COVID-19.

The government also said that it is working to speed up the issuance of new visas to let in some businesspeople who were unable to enter due to the entry restrictions.

The government decided Friday to lift strict re-entry restrictions on foreign nationals with a legal residence status in Japan, which were introduced April 3 as a preventive measure aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. The revised policy will enable all foreign residents to re-enter the country after notifying immigration authorities about their travel plans.

Starting in September, foreign residents will be required to undergo coronavirus testing upon entry and observe a 14-day quarantine period. The same conditions apply to Japanese nationals coming from abroad.

Additionally, however, all foreign nationals will be required to submit proof they were tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to their departure. The condition has already been imposed on students, working visa holders and people with “family stay” visas who had left Japan before the imposition of the ban and were granted permission to return on Aug. 5. Starting from Tuesday, the condition will be applicable to all residents and new arrivals.

The announcement comes amid intensifying criticism of the existing policy from the foreign community and business groups heavily affected by the restrictions to travel, which have cut thousands of people off from access to their livelihoods for months and have been described as discriminatory.

Under the existing travel restrictions, only foreign residents who had left the country before the introduction of the entry restrictions have been allowed to return. Meanwhile, those who have left the country after their destinations were added to the entry ban list and those who are planning to leave the country temporarily need special permission to re-enter from immigration officials.

News source: Japan Times
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