Travel to Japan during COVID-19: Checklist for the Business Path

Japan is relaxation of travel restrictions further for Japanese residents and foreigners with resident status in Japan who, until now, had to go through several stages to return to Japan. Changes to the requirements as well as new options have been added since October 30.

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In this first of two streams, we will discuss the Business Track Immigration Program, covering both regular and short business trips.

We outline the steps you need to take before leave Japan, during your stay in the host country, and from return in Japan.

Background

On October 30, nine countries and regions were promoted to consultative level 2, which means they are no longer on Japan’s travel ban list. From these countries and regions, PCR tests 72 hours before boarding and upon arrival in Japan are no longer necessary:

  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • China (including Hong Kong and Macao)
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Korea
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Note that the information may differ slightly between countries in the same category and depending on the direction in which you are flying (to or from Japan). Be sure to consult the relevant embassies for detailed information. Additionally, airlines have their own requirements that travelers may need to meet before boarding a flight.

Regular business trips

Duration:

14 to 30 days

Countries covered:

Singapore, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam (from November, 1st)

Conditions:

Before entering Japan:

  • Monitor your health for 14 days before returning to Japan by measuring your temperature, for example.
  • Have a valid negative PCR test performed within 72 hours of boarding your return flight to Japan.

This is mandatory even if the country you are from is in consultative mode level two.

Upon arrival at the airport, submit:

  • Health report questionnaire providing details of health during your trip
  • “Written commitment” by your company justifying your trip abroad
  • “Calendar of activities in Japan” to follow your movements in case of detection of an infection

When entering Japan:

  • Of level three country: You must take a PCR test at the airport upon arrival.
  • Of level two country: travelers can return home directly. If the traveler has not taken a PCR test before leaving the host country, they should do so in Japan, using, for example, TeCOT make an appointment and stay home until they get a negative result.

Quarantine: There is a two-week quarantine at the entrance to the country for all travelers.

Skip quarantine: Travelers who comply with all of the conditions listed below are permitted to to renouncer quarantine and resume operations immediately upon return to Japan.

Conditions: During the first two weeks after entering Japan, travelers should refrain from using public transport, limit interactions to a minimum, respect the submitted schedule, collaborate with company health follow-ups, download LINE for health questionnaires and COCOA (contact tracing application) and keep GPS information.

To take with: To facilitate business travel, the Japanese government has agreed to relax quarantine measures. However, a PCR test performed 72 hours before returning to Japan is still required. In addition, more responsibility is transferred to employers by requiring the company to perform health follow-ups for two weeks after an employee returns to Japan.

Short-term business trips

Duration:

7 days, excluding the quarantine period, if applicable, required in the host country

Countries covered:

All countries

Conditions:

Most of the conditions for regular business travel apply to short-term business travel. However, short-term travelers benefit from exemptions and options not available to regular Business Track travelers.

Before entering Japan:

  • Monitor your health for 14 days before returning to Japan.
  • Have a valid negative PCR test performed within 72 hours of boarding your return flight to Japan.

This is mandatory even if the country you are from is in consultative mode level two.

If the trip is less than seven days, travelers are allowed to take the PCR test after returning to Japan at their own expense using, for example, TeCOT, the PCR reservation site set up by the Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry.

Upon arrival at the airport, submit:

  • “Health report” questionnaire providing details on the state of health during your trip
  • “Written commitment” by your company justifying your trip abroad
  • “Japan Activity Calendar” to track your movements if an infection is detected.

When entering Japan:

  • Of level three country: You must take a PCR test at the airport upon arrival.
  • Of level two country: For a trip of less than seven days, travelers can return home directly. If the traveler has not taken a PCR test before leaving the host country, they should do so in Japan, using, for example, TeCOT make an appointment and stay home until they get a negative result.

Quarantine: Two-week quarantine at the entrance to the country for all travelers.

Skip quarantine: Travelers who comply with all of the conditions listed below are permitted to to renouncer quarantine and resume business immediately upon his return to Japan.

Conditions: During the first two weeks after entering Japan, travelers should refrain from taking public transport, limit interactions to a minimum, respect the submitted schedule, download LINE for health questionnaires and COCOA (the app contact tracing) and keep the GPS information.

To take with: Like the standard Business Track, this procedure allows some extent for business travel around the world, provided the trip lasts less than seven days. In addition, to encourage business, authorities allow arriving passengers to waive quarantine upon their return to Japan, provided certain conditions are met, including PCR testing performed in the host country or upon return to Japan. ‘an immediate return to Japan.

Prepare these documents

“Health Status Report” – A sample can be found here in Japanese and here in English.

“Written commitment” – The form for regular business trips is here; for short business trips, here.

A certificate of a valid negative PCR test performed in the host country 72 hours before the flight to Japan, unless you fall under one of the exceptions. If your trips last less than seven days, a PCR test on return booked via TeCOT is possible, for example.

“Calendar of activities in Japan” – The form can be downloaded here.

Information specifying where you will spend your quarantine – downloadable form here in Japanese and here in English

Proof of valid health insurance in Japan, and one that covers you if necessary abroad.

A smartphone to download two applications, LINE (for the health questionnaire from the Ministry of Health) and COCOA, the contact tracing application. You must keep the phone’s GPS information for 14 days.

For all Business Track travelers, the employer must agree to provide health monitoring for 14 days after returning to Japan.

(NEXT: Residency Track Checklist)

Author: Arielle Busetto


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