Japan Extends State of Emergency and Entry Restrictions

February 08, 2021

The Japanese government announced on February 2 that it will continue to make 10 prefectures (except for Tochigi) subject to the Second Declaration of a State of Emergency until March 7, 2021, considering the overwhelming pressure on the medical system due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following to this measure, the frameworks of Business Track and Residence Track with all countries/regions are suspended and new entry of foreign nationals under these tracks are not permitted. This suspension will be continued until the Second Declaration of a State of Emergency is lifted.

All Japanese nationals and foreign nationals who enter, re-enter, or return to Japan are requested to submit a certificate of negative COVID-19 test result conducted within 72 hours before departure (Certificate of Negative COVID-19 Test Result) and are also subject to a COVID-19 test upon arrival. They are then required to stay 14 days at a location designated as the quarantine station (such as own residence) and to refrain from using public transportation. When they enter, re-enter, or return to Japan from countries/regions that have been designated as countries/regions with community transmission of COVID-19 variants (i.e., United Kingdom, South Africa, Ireland, Israel, and Brazil (Amazonas State)), they are required to obtain the Certificate of Negative COVID-19 Test Result and to self-quarantine for three days at a location designated as a quarantine station and on the third day, they are required to take a COVID-19 test again. If they have a negative result, they are required to self-quarantine at home until 14 days will have passed after entering Japan.

In addition, all Japanese nationals and foreign nationals with the status of residence are also required to pledge to refrain from using public transportation for 14 days, and to be in quarantine at home or other designated areas for 14 days, retain the location data, and provide it to the health centers or other institutions, if requested. If they violate such pledge, they may be subject to detention under the Quarantine Act and their name and other information may be made public. Foreign nationals with a residence status may also be subject to the revocation of status of residence and procedures for deportation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan currently has no plan to relax the entry restriction during the state of emergency.

Under the Second Declaration of a Statement of Emergency, the visa exemption continues to be suspended and the issuance of visa also generally continues to be suspended. Foreign nationals who are under the special circumstances may be allowed to enter Japan. The “special circumstances” includes: (i) foreign nationals who re-enter Japan with re-entrance permission; (ii) foreign nationals who newly enter Japan (a) as spouse or child of a Japanese national/permanent resident/long-term resident, (b) with CoE and valid visa for Medical Services and contributing enhancement of medical system, or (c) with CoE and valid visa for professor/instructor and coming to Japan to fill a position that is essential to maintaining activities at an educational institution. Please note that application for CoE to the Japanese Immigration Bureau is still available. Therefore, it may be advisable to start applying for CoE in order to commence applying for a visa once the entry restriction will be relaxed.

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If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis professionals:

Tomoko Fuminaga
Mai Ishii (Certified Administrative Procedures Legal Specialist)
Ayako Hiraiwa (Certified Administrative Procedures Legal Specialist)

Washington, DC
Shannon A. Donnelly