Japan border reopening for tourists

Old May 21st, 2022, 04:31 AM
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I hope you are right about the additional flight capacity mrwunrfl. I checked the cost of rearranging our ANA flights to just having a layover rather than a week stopover in Tokyo and there was literally no capacity on ANA in business class for that week. For the privilege of downgrading to PE, I would have to pay and additional £250 pp.

Fingers crossed that the people on those tour groups, do behave themselves, don't bring in covid and are very complimentary about Japan and the Japanese! I really don't want to have to cancel these flights as i feel that it will be very long time before we see fares that low again. Indeed, given the state of the world economy I feel that the days of cheap air travel are almost certainly gone for good.
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Old May 22nd, 2022, 09:44 AM
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Saw that ANA is resuming its A380 service to Hawaii in July. That is just one example of capacity increases could be planned.

Japan did go ahead with the Olympics last summer even though 27% were in favor of going ahead with it. That decision was made when the unpopular Abe was PM.

Normally, a recession is a good time to travel, imo. The airlines need butts in seats and fewer other tourists and business travelers.

>> literally no capacity on ANA in business class for that week
you mean not in your fare bucket
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Old May 25th, 2022, 03:37 AM
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It's been awhile since I posted here, but there you go. I got an interesting reply via Facebook Messenger from JNTO Australia when I wrote to them about the special tours:

The tours are actually for the travel industry (not general tourists) and they are being organised by travel agencies in Japan, appointed by JATA (Japan Association of Travel Agents.)

This suggests to me that only persons in the travel industry in the permitted countries will be able to avail themselves of these 'special tours'.
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Old May 25th, 2022, 08:36 AM
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That's a good idea. I imagine that a fair number of those TA-tourists are Japanese living overseas. Like JTBUSA staff or those folks at H.I.S. Travel. Should be easy tourists to deal with
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Old May 25th, 2022, 08:56 AM
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Interesting S2K - It does seem that despite those comments by the Japanese PM in London, that there is are few signs of the Japanese government being serious about opening up the country. Perhaps they are keeping their powder dry for a big reveal on 1st June?
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Old May 26th, 2022, 03:55 AM
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Things are changing. The newest developments:

From June 1st Japan will no longer require PCR test on arrival from people coming from abroad nor will Japan require any vaccination or booster for people entering from most countries (but a 72hr pre-flight departure PCR test will still be needed.)

Also, the daily limit of arrivals from abroad will go up on June 1st to 20,000 per day (this includes Japanese citizens).

Foreign tourists will be allowed into Japan from June 10th BUT they can only come within a pre-arranged package tour and the number allowed must be within the daily cap of 20,000, which again, includes citizens, foreign residents, diplomats, business visa holders, and any new foreign workers/students.

For how long it will be tour-only is unknown, but its pretty safe to assume that it will be at least much of the summer, probably at least till after the Obon holiday time in mid-August if not longer into September (or beyond...?)

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Old May 26th, 2022, 07:00 AM
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"Things are changing." Not much is changing from what has already been announced as far as I can see. The need for a PCR test on arrival is the only real change and even that is a not much of a concession. as a 72 hours pre departure test is still required.

I guess an indication of things really starting to change will be airlines releasing more availability on flights and fares dropping when they start believing restrictions are likely to be lifted. At present that is not happening . My £3300 Bus Class flights to Sydney in Sept with ANA are now > £8500 with virtually no availability. I guess I will be holding my breath for much of August as I will be given the option to cancel around 10 days before departure
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Old May 27th, 2022, 10:21 AM
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Holding your breath is right, we can relate. We have flights scheduled to Tokyo in late October, my wife hasn’t seen her mother for nearly 3 years now. We also are briefly stopping over in January on our way to Australia.

Everything can be cancelled so we’re not too worried monetarily though that would be a PIA to have to do so. We’re also hoping things become clearer for independent travelers by mid to late summer. Fingers crossed folks.
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Old May 28th, 2022, 12:42 AM
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Know how you feel curiousgeo. Our grandson just turned 3 years old and we haven't seen him since he was 3 months old. His brother arrived last month so we are v.keen to get over there in September. As you say , it would be a complete PITA to rearrange and, although we could get a full refund, a replacement flight would be significantly more expensive. Fingers crossed indeed!
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Old May 28th, 2022, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by curiousgeo View Post
Holding your breath is right, we can relate. We have flights scheduled to Tokyo in late October, my wife hasn’t seen her mother for nearly 3 years now. We also are briefly stopping over in January on our way to Australia.

Everything can be cancelled so we’re not too worried monetarily though that would be a PIA to have to do so. We’re also hoping things become clearer for independent travelers by mid to late summer. Fingers crossed folks.
You mentioned your wife wanting to see her mother. With this I assume her mother is a Japanese citizen? If so, (even if your wife is no longer a Japanese citizen), your wife (as well as you) can get a family visa to guarantee your visit since you are a direct relative. Actually, you can do that right now if you wanted to go sooner.
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Old May 28th, 2022, 02:54 PM
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Actually, crellston , you may be able to get a family visa too if your child (hence your grandchild) is a resident of Japan, especially if your child is married to a Japanese citizen.
One of the main exceptions though would be if both your child and spouse were non-Japanese and living there as members of the US military (they have special situations for US military stationed in Japan).

You and curiousgeo should contact the Japanese embassy in your home country. It's not a particularly simple process, but I know of people who have recently gotten such family visas. But from what I heard, most embassies are getting increasingly backlogged, so you should do it sooner than later.

Last edited by Wilk67; May 28th, 2022 at 03:52 PM.
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Old May 28th, 2022, 06:25 PM
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Thanks for the information but I have my doubts it would work for us. Her mom has lived in Japan for over 60 years (loooong story) but is not a Japanese citizen and neither is my wife. While visiting her would be our top priority there is other business to attend to. So we would visit the mom for 4-5 days then need to take care of other things for another week or so.

With that kind of family visa I imagine the government would need to know who, what, when, where and why, possibly limiting what we could do. We’ll probably wait and see what transpires before changing our current plans. But appreciate your input.
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Old May 29th, 2022, 02:42 AM
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Thanks for the thought Wilks but it won't work for us either. We are UK citizens, my son is now an Australian as are the grandkids. None of us have anything to do with Japan. The only reason we are going via Tokyo is that I saw the bargain priced fares last October, jumped on them assuming that there would be no way that restrictions would be in place 11 months down the line. How wrong was I? Should have remembered the phrase I have used many times "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is"

All we can do is wait and see. It is just over 3 months until we depart and the pessimist in me feels that that is not a lot of time for the Japanese government to change their minds and lift restrictions. The optimist in me is hoping that the results of their experiment in allowing in small groups will prove successful especially given it is now summer and infection rates tend to slow massively. Though that approach does seem bizarre and I really can't see the logic behind it. Their country, their choice. Much of the world seems to have accepted that this disease has moved into the endemic phase and are treating it like any other disease except it seems Japan. I am clearly missing something. As a Japanese client once told me "don't even try to understand the Japanese"
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Old May 29th, 2022, 10:23 AM
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Had to laugh at your post crellston. This will be our second 11 month in advance air ticket thinking (hoping) Japan would start opening up for travel. Best of luck to you.
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Old May 30th, 2022, 05:27 PM
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Not good - Tourist on Japan's package tour trial tests positive for COVID-19 (link)
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Old May 31st, 2022, 12:05 AM
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Oh dear! That does not bode well for the coming months. Regardless of whether the exercise has any scientific validity, I wonder what the public reaction will be?
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Old May 31st, 2022, 08:52 AM
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I couldn't get many details from the online English language Japanese news but it seems like the person who tested positive had only recently arrived...could easily had caught Covid in home country, I would think....

After all Japan has not allowed foreign tourists in for such a long time and they have had their citizens travel in and out so who brought in Covid to Japan????
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Old May 31st, 2022, 10:02 AM
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So far it seems Japan will go forward with allowing structured package tours beginning June 10. Will public opinion over this incident push back the full opening for international visitors? As mentioned earlier on this thread, Japan will do what Japan will do.
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Old May 31st, 2022, 01:35 PM
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Well, that didn't take long.

Here is some info from ANA with links to govt webpage. Not sure if there is anything new. Haven't quite grasped it all yet, but:
ANA SKY WEB : Japan eases entry restrictions for eligible travelers from June 1, 2022 - Information

Last edited by mrwunrfl; May 31st, 2022 at 01:39 PM.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2022, 02:15 PM
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For crellston and curiousgeo and anyone else seeking to visit family in Japan:

Starting June 1st Japan is allowing relatives of ANY non-Japanese residents to enter. It is also possible to visit one's fiancee in Japan. The person being visited does not need to be Japanese citizen or a permanent resident, and it does not matter which country you are from or which country the family member is from.

So if your direct family member is living in Japan with any status (including if they are a US military member), you can now get a visa to visit. Yes, this person would be your "sponsor" but there are no limitations once within Japan on where you can stay, where you can visit, or how you can travel.

The link below is for the main Japanese embassy in the US, but if you are living elsewhere, just check the website for your home country:

To see the details in this link, go to "STEP 1", and see about family there within "2 NEW ENTRY" and in that in number "6".
https://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_ja/covid-19.html#3

For details on the docs needed for a visa, see in that link under "STEP 2" and check the link for visiting relatives. Below is the direct link:
RELATIVES.pdf

You can get this visa up to 3 months in advance. They also recommend to do it no less than 1.5 months in advance (probably due to backlog). So for September travel, that would be sometime soon.

Good Luck!!
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