Japan Issues Third State of Emergency: Closes Down Travel

US CDC says travelers should avoid all nonessential travel to Japan
osaka japan city street
Japan (Vax Before Travel)

The US Embassy in Japan confirmed a ‘Third State of Emergency’ notice was issued. This declaration became effective on April 25, 2021.

This new declaration is scheduled to terminate on May 11, 2021, but could be extended further, similar to previous states of emergency.

The Government of Japan has reimposed a state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto prefectures and urge residents to take all possible precautions against the spread of COVID-19.

On April 26, 2021, the U.S. CDC issued a Level 3 Travel Alert, saying ‘Travelers should avoid all nonessential travel to Japan.’

Under the current state of emergency, bars and restaurants serving alcohol, most department stores, amusement parks, and other recreation facilities are requested to close temporarily. In addition, some public transportation providers are asked to reduce service on weekends and holidays.

Several prefectural governments continue to ask citizens to refrain from traveling to/from locations where the state of emergency is affected. There may be other closure requests and COVID-19 mitigation measures put into place in these prefectures. 

Furthermore, all air travelers to the USA must show a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days before boarding their flight. U.S. citizens are subject to this rule. U.S. military and SOFA status travelers should consult with their commands on their travel requirements and possible exceptions.

Being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 does not exempt any traveler from the requirement to receive a negative PCR test no more than three days before boarding a flight to the USA.

The Government of Japan continues to enforce strict travel regulations that bar most new foreigners from entering Japan. Foreign tourists and non-resident foreign business travelers remain prohibited from entering Japan. 

Japanese citizens and foreign residents with a permit are generally allowed to reenter Japan but must comply with strict pre-and post-travel testing requirements and self-quarantine upon arrival. 

All travelers inbound to Japan must receive a negative PCR test within 72 hours of flight departure. These tests must be presented in the prescribed format and must comply with stringent requirements.

Regardless of the international point of origin, all travelers entering Japan remain subject to a 14-day self-quarantine upon arrival and are prohibited from using public transportation to include domestic flights, taxis, and rail. 

Vaccination status has no impact on an individual’s eligibility to travel to Japan, and Japan’s quarantine restrictions apply regardless of vaccination status.

Travelers arriving from specific areas or without proof of pre-departure COVID-19 testing may be required to quarantine for some time in a government-designated location. U.S. military and SOFA status personnel should speak with their command about upcoming travel, COVID-19 testing, and any restriction of movement (ROM)/quarantine requirements.

Travelers seeking to transit Japan en route to onward international destinations may continue to do so without quarantine as long as the transit occurs within the same airport and no overnight stay is required.

The U.S. Embassy strongly urges any U.S. citizens considering travel to Japan to review the information available from the Government of Japan carefully. These complex regulations are subject to change with little notice. 

The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to monitor local news for updates to guidance for their area and comply with all local and national COVID-19 mitigation measures. Non-compliance with declaration may be punishable by fine as enforced by Japan’s Special Measures laws.

The U.S. Embassy’s ability to intervene on behalf of travelers denied boarding at their point of embarkation or denied entry upon arrival to Japan is extremely limited. Those travelers denied access at Japanese ports of entry would likely be immediately reboarded on flights back to the United States.

The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to monitor local news for updates to guidance for their area and comply with all local and national COVID-19 mitigation measures. Non-compliance with declaration may be punishable by fine as enforced by Japan’s Special Measures laws.

The U.S. Embassy and consulates are open for routine services, but appointment availability remains limited. Availability will be even more limited during Japan’s Golden Week celebrations. To schedule an appointment, visit the website for instructions.

Vax-Before-Travel publishes research-based travel news.