It seems that nowadays, there is a lot considered, discussed, and written about the COVID-19 and the pandemic. We see it on TV, read about it online, and talk with friends and coworkers about it just about every day. And most of the information is negative and points out the problems the pandemic has created. And, yes, it has created a lot of them! One of which is the closed border policies many countries implemented. However, recently several countries are starting to relax these restrictions, allowing certain types of visitors, once again, to enter the country. Japan is no exception.
Yes, Japan is relaxing its entry policy and allowing certain types of visitors to enter the country. And although the closed border policy still applies to tourists, this is good news! As reported in The Japan Times and The Asahi Shimbun, Japan recently announced that from November 05, it would accept students and business travelers from abroad who have proper visas and invitations from sponsors. Japan also announced that quarantine would be reduced from 14 days to 3 days after a negative PCR test. This policy change is very encouraging, and hopefully, Japan will start accepting visitors from abroad soon. But how soon? That is hard to say.
Japan, and its base culture, is very risk-averse. Companies and the public, in general, are very safety conscious. Safety First (安全第一) is a common phrase, and many companies use the phrase coined by Toyota Motors “PO-KE-TE-NA-SHI“. Even with the number of cases plummeting to zero, or nearly zero, everyone in Japan still wears masks. But hopeful, fingers crossed, Japan will open its borders in early 2022. Even then, if the border does open, the process and the paperwork required to enter Japan is so extensive, it is hard to imagine managing this process. This process will also have to be relaxed to handle all the people coming to Japan.
That being said, the fact that the border closure has been relaxed for students and business travelers is a step forward. Japan needs these people. With the shrinking population, universities struggle without foreign students. Businesses also suffer. And not to mention the toll the pandemic has taken on tourism. Although Japan is still a long way off from fully opening its border, it is taking some positive steps to get back to some kind of normalcy.