Japan looking to reopen its borders to foreign tourists in 2021, here's what to expect if you go

Women in yukata, or casual summer kimonos, wearing protective face masks, walk along Nakamise Street at Asakusa district, a popular sightseeing spot, amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Tokyo, Japan, July 22, 2020.
PHOTO: Reuters

Looks like there's no chance of travelling to Japan this year, as its borders remain closed to tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, things are looking up because Japanese government officials have plans to draw up coronavirus countermeasures for international tourists by January 2021, reported SoraNews24.

The ban on foreign tourists may be lifted on a trial basis from April 2021 once safety measures are implemented and depending on the coronavirus situation in Japan and across the world.

This could be seen as a test run for a wider reopening with the Tokyo Olympic Games set to begin on July 23 next year.

The safety measures will aim to encompass a tourist's travel journey from arrival to duration of stay to departure.

According to The Japan Times, the plans include having overseas tourists download a health management app and obtain a pre-departure test certificate, stating that they have tested negative for the coronavirus before entering Japan.

In the unfortunate event that tourists test positive for Covid-19 after entering the country, they will be required to purchase private medical insurance.

For those who test negative, instead of being quarantined at a hotel, they are obligated to report their health status through the health management app for two weeks.

The Japanese government is also proposing a "Fever Health Consultation Support Centre" specifically for foreign tourists to relieve the burden off local governments and health systems.

Read Also
Japan is resuming flights to China, and reopening its borders - but not to tourists
Japan is resuming flights to China, and reopening its borders - but not to tourists

Safety measures will stay in place after the Olympics as the government plans to revive international tourism.

However, there are still issues that need to be sorted out before foreign tourists are allowed into the country, such as ensuring the correct usage of the app, the number of tourists allowed in during the Olympics and limits on tourist activities while in Japan.

With the launch of a green lane between Japan and Singapore last month, residents from both countries are able to travel for essential and official business.

If all goes well, Singaporeans can not only look forward to travelling to Japan as tourists, but Thailand as well, if they reopen their borders next year.

trining@asiaone.com