Japan will no longer be asking for proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results from incoming travellers starting April 29, the Japanese media reports.
According to an earlier plan, the country had announced that it will end the requirements on May 8 and downgrade the legal status of novel coronavirus to common infectious diseases such as seasonal flu.
But citing government sources, Kyodo News said on 26 April that arrangements are being made to bring the date forward in anticipation of an increased overseas arrival during the Golden Week holidays.
Reuters, too, cited the Jiji news agency saying that the date has been brought forward to ease congestion at airports.
What to know about Japan’s COVID-19 border measures
A new voluntary testing system might be introduced
All passengers, both Japanese and foreigners, arriving in Japan are currently required to present proof of three doses of COVID-19 vaccine or a negative test taken within 72 hours before departure.
In accordance with the earlier plan, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) put up a notice on its official website announcing that the requirements for those planning to travel to the country will be dropped on May 8.
“Those who are entering Japan on or after May 8th, 2023, will not be required to present a valid vaccination certificate or a COVID-19 negative test certificate,” the notice reads. The notice was last updated on April 26 and continues to be live on the site.
Meanwhile, Kyodo News reported that while the “requirement is now expected to be dropped from midnight Friday,” a new voluntary testing system for arrivals is being planned for introduction at five airports to detect fever-like symptoms and “new infectious diseases.”
Tourism numbers nearing pre-pandemic levels
According to Japan Times, tourism projections by Nomura Research Institute indicate that the upcoming holidays could see a boost in both domestic and international travel bringing them closer to pre-pandemic years.
The number of incoming travellers to Japan was 2.76 million in March 2019. Though it is yet to be touched, the numbers, as data shows are increasing significantly. In March 2023, 1.82 million people arrived in Japan. The figure was 340,000 more than February numbers.
This story first appeared here.
(Main image credits:Darth Liu/@jiuge9/Unsplash; Featured image credits: Lourdes Tan/@goodlourdt/Unsplash)