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Coronavirus impact in Japan [consolidated]

Coronavirus impact in Japan [consolidated]

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Old Aug 25, 22, 9:22 pm   -   Wikipost
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This thread is for discussion of the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to Japan. Non-Japan-related discussion should be taken either to the most relevant forum, the Coronavirus and Travel forum, or the OMNI forums.

UPDATE FOR TOURISTS LOOKING TO VISIT JAPAN AFTER COVID-19 BORDER RESTRICTIONS EASE
Japan does currently not allow entry for general tourism purposes. Most visa waivers are suspended, and travel to Japan for non resident foreigners generally require a visa. And quarantine as described for the countries and territories below.

UPDATE FOR PEOPLE WITH VISAS THAT ALLOW ENTRY INTO JAPAN
The quarantine requirements mentioned below will generally apply to entrants in Japan. As the conditions of who can obtain a visa for entry on exceptional circumstances are not clearly listed anywhere, it is necessary to confirm entry requirements with your local Japanese diplomatic representatives

Spouses and children of foreign permanent residents or Japanese nationals, can obtain visas for short term stays (up to 90 days) by applying in person or by mail at an overseas Japanese consulate. Required documentation includes application form, letter with reason for purpose of visit, bank statement and Koseki Tohon. Processing times have been reported as on the spot to up to one week.

From March 1st, business travelers, students and technical trainees can again enter Japan. There is a need to have a receiving organisation to apply for the visa. For business travelers, there will be one point of contact with the Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare. Though the full details are not published yet (as of typing on the 27th of February, please add them if you have seen them)

Business travelers must have a Japanese company or organization apply for a Certificate for Completion of Registration to the MHLW ERFS system. This is a two step process. The company must first register and then apply for the Certificate for the traveler. These can both be done online and completed in less than an hour.The website for doing this is https://entry.hco.mhlw.go.jp/.

After getting the certificate the traveler must apply for visa at the Japanese Consulate or Embassy with jurisdiction for where they reside. (They are quite strict about this. E.g. you can't apply while traveling in a foreign country.) The information on the Consulate pages state that you need Letter of Guarantee, Invitation Letter, etc when applying for the visa. In fact, however, if you have the EFRS certificate, all you need is the visa application, your passport and a photo. The Consulate will issue the visa within 5 days.

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UPDATE JAPANESE CITIZENS AND RETURNING FOREIGN JAPAN RESIDENTS

All people travelling to Japan has to present a negative PCR test taking no earlier than. 72 hours before departure to be able to board the flight. The certificate has to meet the information requirements and test types from the Japanese government.

https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/000799426.pdf

From the 7th of June, passport number, nationality, signature and stamp from the doctor/medical institution are no longer required.
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The requirement for pre-departure test will be removed for passengers on flights landing after the 7th of September 00:00 provided that they have received a full bases vaccination and a booster vaccination. Accepted vaccines are Moderna, Pfizer, Astra, Zeneca, J&J, Novavax, Covaxin.

Uploading documents in advance via the mysos app or via the mysos website is required. For details please see https://www.hco.mhlw.go.jp/en/


The arrival process is as follows. Countries will be grouped in red, yellow, and blue.
  • Group “Red”:On-arrival test is required. 3-day quarantine at a government-designated facility is required, however, those who obtain a valid vaccination certificate may have 5-day home quarantine (or 3-day home quarantine + negative result of a voluntary test) instead.
  • Group “Yellow”:On-arrival test and 5-day home quarantine (or 3-day home quarantine + negative result of a voluntary test) are required, however, those who obtain a valid vaccination certificate are not required to have on-arrival test, home quarantine and other measures.
  • Group “Blue”:Regardless of the vaccination status of the entrants/returnees, on-arrival test, home quarantine and other measures are not required.
Vaccine certificate does require three doses of vaccines.
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Red countries:
Albania, Sierra Leone

Yellow countries:
Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cook Island, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Macau, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Niger, Niue, North Korea, North Macedonia, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Portugal, Republic of Burundi, Republic of Congo, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Vanuatu, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Solomon, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe

Blue countries:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentine, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d’lvoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyz, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Western Sahara, Zambia



For updates to the lists of countries and territories and changes to the rules check the website of the ministry of foreign affairs https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html and ask in the thread for clarifications and experiences of entering Japan.
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Old Aug 23, 22, 3:40 pm
  #9901  
 
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Honestly, for vast majority of people, the only change that will move the needle is visa exemption.
With the number of new ETA programs springing up I honestly don’t think we’ll ever see a return to full visa exemption, except maybe for those who qualify for the trusted traveler program. I’d honestly be fine with that as long as the ETA is free or “baked in” (for example, cost is covered by the departure tax).
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Old Aug 23, 22, 3:53 pm
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Originally Posted by jamar View Post
With the number of new ETA programs springing up I honestly don’t think we’ll ever see a return to full visa exemption, except maybe for those who qualify for the trusted traveler program. I’d honestly be fine with that as long as the ETA is free or “baked in” (for example, cost is covered by the departure tax).
I still have a pending TTP application, had my second inspection scheduled for April, 2020, right after they closed the borders for COVID. TBH, though I hope it does, I don't see the TTP program coming back for a long time, if ever, at least for non-citizens.

Last edited by seigex; Aug 23, 22 at 7:18 pm
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Old Aug 23, 22, 6:44 pm
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Given the immense strain the Japanese border officials were under in the year or so immediately preceding the pandemic (worst I’ve experienced was in 2018 at KIX arriving on a flight from China- 8:xxpm arrival, didn’t make it to baggage claim until just after the last train left because just about every person in line in front of me was from a visa-required country, with all the additional questioning that apparently entailed), I’m more optimistic about the TTP remaining in place. It’s in their interests to avoid letting border waits get out of hand (like what LHR used to be known for) when tourism/general visiting fully reopens, and having a way to let more thoroughly vetted people use the automated machines definitely helps.
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Old Aug 23, 22, 6:58 pm
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TV Tokyo say today's announcement of border policy relaxation by Kishida may be postponed in light of the COVID situation in Japan (record death yesterday). Not surprised when a large number of people are brainlessly believing more border crossings means more corona.

Link: https://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/mv/nms/smp/news/post_257813/
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Old Aug 23, 22, 7:00 pm
  #9905  
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Originally Posted by kentauta View Post
Not surprised when a large number of people are brainlessly believing more border crossings means more corona.
It doesn't? I would think that F(x) < F(x+1) in this case.
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Old Aug 23, 22, 7:05 pm
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Originally Posted by hailstorm View Post
It doesn't? I would think that F(x) < F(x+1) in this case.
You are technically right, but the increase is practically and proportionally negligible when the number of entry is still limited unless there is a scientific reason to believe that one person entering Japan is higher risk than one average person living in Japan.
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Old Aug 23, 22, 7:24 pm
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Originally Posted by hailstorm View Post
It doesn't? I would think that F(x) < F(x+1) in this case.
Assuming the infection rate is comparable within Japan and outside of JAPAN, then I think it’s a function of the number of interactions which in turn is a function of the population density which then in turn is a function of the number of people in the country. So in conclusion, JAPAN should be encouraging outbound tourism.
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Old Aug 23, 22, 7:30 pm
  #9908  
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Originally Posted by kentauta View Post
You are technically right, but the increase is practically and proportionally negligible when the number of entry is still limited unless there is a scientific reason to believe that one person entering Japan is higher risk than one average person living in Japan.
Every COVID virus and variant that has caused a major spike in infections here has been brought in by someone outside of Japan. So if Japan had decided to pull up its virtual drawbridge in mid-2019 and not a single person came into or left Japan since, then Japan would remain COVID free to this day.

Obviously, this was never going to happen, but merely limiting the number of entrants still had a tangible impact: it delayed the onset of COVID waves compared to other nations with more porous borders (something that is only possible by virtue of Japan having no land borders). This had real meaning in the early days, when we were trying to buy time to get people vaccinated or stockpile medicine.

But we've now reached the point that there are so many variants that delaying any one of them doesn't seem to have that meaning anymore. It doesn't really matter that we are delaying the BA 2.75 variant from getting a foothold here when the (delayed) BA5 variant is now doing its damage. So the temptation to just throw up one's hands and say that everything is inevitable and resistance is futile is certainly there.

However, we are still dealing with a virus that has been known for less than three years. We have grown accustomed to vaccines preventing serious illness in a large majority of people, and variants that gradually impart a serious impact on an increasingly smaller and smaller proportion of society. But there is no guarantee that this trend will continue. There remains the distinct possibility of the emergence of a highly infectious, highly lethal variant that evades much of the protections that we've built up to this point. And we know now from the original that, by the time we learn of such a virus, it will be too late to slam the doors shut again. The only way to delay the onset of such a hypothetical beast is based on the policies in place before the threat becomes known.

So the prospect of going back to a completely pre-COVID policy would be like going back to a completely pre-9/11 policy: a risk that politicians will not, and should not, want to take.
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Old Aug 23, 22, 8:02 pm
  #9909  
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Originally Posted by hailstorm View Post
Every COVID virus and variant that has caused a major spike in infections here has been brought in by someone outside of Japan. So if Japan had decided to pull up its virtual drawbridge in mid-2019 and not a single person came into or left Japan since, then Japan would remain COVID free to this day.

Obviously, this was never going to happen, but merely limiting the number of entrants still had a tangible impact: it delayed the onset of COVID waves compared to other nations with more porous borders (something that is only possible by virtue of Japan having no land borders). This had real meaning in the early days, when we were trying to buy time to get people vaccinated or stockpile medicine.

But we've now reached the point that there are so many variants that delaying any one of them doesn't seem to have that meaning anymore. It doesn't really matter that we are delaying the BA 2.75 variant from getting a foothold here when the (delayed) BA5 variant is now doing its damage. So the temptation to just throw up one's hands and say that everything is inevitable and resistance is futile is certainly there.

However, we are still dealing with a virus that has been known for less than three years. We have grown accustomed to vaccines preventing serious illness in a large majority of people, and variants that gradually impart a serious impact on an increasingly smaller and smaller proportion of society. But there is no guarantee that this trend will continue. There remains the distinct possibility of the emergence of a highly infectious, highly lethal variant that evades much of the protections that we've built up to this point. And we know now from the original that, by the time we learn of such a virus, it will be too late to slam the doors shut again. The only way to delay the onset of such a hypothetical beast is based on the policies in place before the threat becomes known.

So the prospect of going back to a completely pre-COVID policy would be like going back to a completely pre-9/11 policy: a risk that politicians will not, and should not, want to take.
Most virologists expect a super contagious super lethal virus to appear at some point. Whether that will be a variant of covid-19 or something completely new, only time will tell. The general evolution of viral pathogens that mutate heavily is that they end up more infectious less lethal. Without having studied virology, a logic that the strains that spread easier without killing their hosts too fast will proliferate seems understandable. I don't believe we are likely to look at a super lethal version of covid-19 suddenly popping up.

But we have learned that a lot of the world was woefully unprepared for covid-19. And we do need to address that. But addressing it by keeping the borders restricted forever in anticipation of a virus we don't know when will come and how it spreads would be complete overkill. Or should we also stop shipping food around the world, each country should grow their own food as food can also carry certain pathogens?
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Old Aug 23, 22, 9:32 pm
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Originally Posted by hailstorm View Post
There remains the distinct possibility of the emergence of a highly infectious, highly lethal variant that evades much of the protections that we've built up to this point.
I would not describe an event with no indication of increasing likelihood, and in fact with all historical evidence and data being counter to it, as a "distinct possibility."

The only way to delay the onset of such a hypothetical beast is based on the policies in place before the threat becomes known.

But such a virus could arise and have no relation to SARS-CoV-2 whatsoever. Such a thing could occur at any point now or in the future. Highly lethal disease have arisen in the past as well.

What if the hypothetical highly lethal virus, whether it be a variant of SARS-CoV-2 or not, originates within your own country? Preparing for everything that could happen, no matter how unlikely, is not just feasible or rational.
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Old Aug 23, 22, 9:41 pm
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Originally Posted by nexusCFX View Post
But such a virus could arise and have no relation to SARS-CoV-2 whatsoever. Such a thing could occur at any point now or in the future. Highly lethal disease have arisen in the past as well.
Indeed. And you would want to be perpetually vigilant against such a threat, as we have been perpetually vigilant against hijacking planes and flying them into buildings, an event that has not happened in over 20 years now.
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Old Aug 23, 22, 9:51 pm
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Originally Posted by hailstorm View Post
Indeed. And you would want to be perpetually vigilant against such a threat, as we have been perpetually vigilant against hijacking planes and flying them into buildings, an event that has not happened in over 20 years now.
That analogy does not hold. A plane hijacking is not a random event. With no prevention measures it can occur via someone's conscious decision and it is a known fact that there are people who exist right now that would do such a thing given the opportunity and a lack of measures to stop them. Protections against it have been deployed that are proportional in their risk-reduction against the cost of failure.

The measures to guarantee that a foreign virus of high lethality cannot enter your country come at an immense cost that cannot at all be said to be proportional to the risk. What would be the basis? You'd have only historical data which would tell you that there haven't been any viruses where the devastation would be worth the economic damage to a country (which has its own devastation to human lives, it's not just numbers on a stock ticker) of completely closing oneself off to the world.

Perhaps I am just misunderstanding what you mean by vigilance and what measures one would take, but I am basing this on your remark around the only way to prevent entry of a virus.
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Last edited by nexusCFX; Aug 23, 22 at 9:57 pm
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Old Aug 23, 22, 9:56 pm
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Originally Posted by hailstorm View Post
Indeed. And you would want to be perpetually vigilant against such a threat, as we have been perpetually vigilant against hijacking planes and flying them into buildings, an event that has not happened in over 20 years now.
A RyanAir flight was hijacked just last year. It may not have crashed into a building, but that's just one of dozens of documented hijackings that has taken place since 2001. The 911 metaphor is a bit of a reach.

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Last edited by invalyd; Aug 23, 22 at 10:08 pm
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Old Aug 23, 22, 11:33 pm
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No details yet. But seems to be good news.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20...-test-kishida/
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Old Aug 23, 22, 11:58 pm
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According to NHK, the elimination of the pre-test if triple vaxed will start from Sept 7th.
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