Japan Bans Visitors From 70+ Countries Indefinitely

Filed Under: Travel

Not that anyone should be looking to take a vacation anytime soon, but Japan has just banned entry for foreigners who have been in one of over 70 countries (including the United States) in the past 14 days.

I really miss Japan…

I think this current situation makes us all appreciate travel even more, and I’m sure I’m not alone in fondly recalling past travel experiences.

The truth is that there’s not many places I enjoy returning to — instead I like going to new places — though Japan is an exception. As I’m stuck at home there’s no place I’m thinking about more fondly at the moment than Japan.

As a matter of fact, as soon as it’s safe and responsible to travel, Japan is one of the first places I want to goif they’ll let me in.

I miss Japan

Japan bans foreigners from 70+ countries

Japan is banning foreigners who have been in any of over 70 countries in the past 14 days. This isn’t about your nationality, but rather about having been to one of the countries in question in the past two weeks.

These new rules kick in for arrivals as of April 3, even if your flight departs before that day. There’s no end date yet for this restriction, so for now this is “until further notice.”

Here are the restricted regions for Japan’s new immigration policy:

  • Asia: Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
  • Oceania: Australia, New Zealand
  • North America: Canada, United States
  • Latin America & the Caribbean: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Dominica, Ecuador, Panama
  • Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vatican
  • Middle East: Bahrain, Iran, Israel, Turkey
  • Africa: Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Mauritius, Morocco

Japan is limiting foreigners arriving from many countries

Strengthened screening for arriving passengers

Those passengers arriving in Japan from one of the restricted countries (in other words, primarily Japanese nationals) will be subjected to additional screening on arrival. They will have PCR tests conducted.

Those arriving from abroad are also urged to quarantine for 14 days, and to refrain from using public transportation.

Limits on international arriving airports

Japan is also limiting arrivals from China and Korea to Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Osaka Kansai (KIX), presumably for screening purposes.

I’m not sure why exactly they’re singling out those two countries for arrivals, given the problems across the globe at this point, but I assume it’s for some sort of screening measures.

Flights from Korea can no longer arrive at Haneda Airport

Bottom line

We’ve already seen huge reductions in flights between the US and Japan, and I imagine capacity will be limited even more at this point. Japan is banning foreigners who have been to any of over 70 countries in the past 14 days, and there’s no end date for this restriction.

(Tip of the hat to Running With Miles)

  1. The reason for restricting only flights from China and Korea to NRT/KIX is because it was institute way before the current mess in Europe and the US.

  2. everyone knew that the covid-19 was wide spread in japan except of those people who have weird obsession to japan and also denying to believe that they’re deliberately feeding their visitors radioactive foods. In the reality, as soon as IOC decides to postpone 2020 olympics, there’s massive outbreak of covid. How convenient! Don’t ever ever trust japanese officials. We should’ve learned from the Pearl Harbor, Okinawa, and Midway! They even order their own citizens to commit suicide!

  3. Vaguely related… I was originally planning on travelling to Japan for the Olympics this year which obviously isn’t happening now. My flight is non-refundable, and has not yet been cancelled. Am I likely to be best waiting to see if the airline cancels or trying to see if I can claim on my travel insurance somehow?

    If I can’t get my money back then I wont be able to afford to go to the re-scheduled Olympics next year. 🙁

  4. I was wondering how they were doing this but you said “PCR tests conducted.”

    That is good since it is now obvious checking peoples’ temperature is a foolhardy exercise because 25% (maybe 50%) of people with the virus show no symptoms.

    This is going to be a long, painful experience for people. Many of whom have had life pretty easy with regards to wars, pandemics, etc. in the US. Gives people a reality check and maybe better appreciate those who live in war zones, places w/o clean water/medicine, etc.

    Maybe a brave blogger will migrate from traveling with no real purpose except for in flight experience to traveling and helping the less fortunate in various counties and see the world in a new light. Not trying to pick on Ben here, but there are a lot of stuff at various blogs that come across as entitlement and selfish.

  5. @Richard G, in the same position. Good advice seems to be to wait as long as possible for a refund request given current trends.

    @rich, your last paragraph is not only an idiotic take, but begs the question “Then why are you here?”, except for the concern trolling, of course.

  6. @Jim: my country, Colombia, is not banned. However, we’ve never had a non-stop flight to Japan and the ‘easiest’ way to travel there was by connecting in the US/Canada (they’re banned). So, as I see it, this ban ends up working as a ban on any international travel in practical terms.

  7. I miss travelling to Japan so much too. So clean and people wearing masks even when there was no corona. Not wonder the # are so low. Only 60 deaths since January!

  8. @Richard G – Which AIRLINE are you waiting to cancel for JP trip? (matters since each has a different policy)

  9. Lucky – saw someone else ask about transiting thru Japan. For example, I’ve got SFO-NRT-HAN on Japan Airlines scheduled for September. Would this be allowed under current restrictions?

  10. @Lisfranc sorry misread your question, I thought you were asking which countries don’t have any travel restrictions in place for inbound visitors.

  11. “Japan is also limiting arrivals from China and Korea to Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Osaka Kansai (KIX), presumably for screening purposes.

    I’m not sure why exactly they’re singling out those two countries for arrivals, given the problems across the globe at this point, but I assume it’s for some sort of screening measures.”

    There’s political issues involved with that. At least from Korean perspective, (not sure about China) the ban is almost welcomed since Japan’s response to the virus so far has been very weak as testings were discouraged due to “potentially overburdening their health care system”. CEO of Softbank actually offered million test kits for free but had to quickly retract the offer due to criticism. As they say in Japan, “nail that sticks out gets hammered”. It’s not a surprise that their #s start climbing up as soon as Olympics are delayed. I’d refuse to travel to Japan anyway due to lack of visibility as I’d be worried of the stealth carriers, especially Tokyo.

  12. @AlliW – ANA, unfortunately booked through TravelUp. Makes it even more complicated. 🙁

  13. After that very suspicious jump in cases after the olympic postponement i think most of us weren’t planning on visiting Japan for a while anyway…. But sure, make it look like you broke up with us, Japan, lol.

  14. I’m like you Lucky but my reason is more personally as my wife is Japanese and she is still living there waiting for her Canadian spousal visa. Having the Japanese border still open was one glimmer of hope I had if I wanted to visit her after Canada closed it’s borders but now with both closed, we feel lost.

    I hope and pray this over soon for all of us!

  15. Remember: opening a border again is politically far harder than closing it in the first place. No politician wants to be responsible for opening a border that potentially lets in that remaining coronavirus case that kills a domestic citizen, or causes even a small outbreak even after things are supposedly “under control”.

    It’s possible we won’t see a return to the passport freedom utopia of 2019 for many years. Obviously, some places (especially allied, democratic countries with lots of trade, like the US and Japan) will have to open up to some travel again quickly, but that travel will come with heavy restrictions / quarantining for many travelers, and I am sure that once there is immunity testing and/or a vaccine, proof of immunity will be required for almost all international travel anywhere.

    Get ready for a world where “visa free” travel is dramatically reduced and “visa on arrival” barely exists. Basically, those of us with formerly “powerful” US and EU passports will get a sour taste of the travel restrictions that people from poorer countries have had to always deal with.

  16. Why don’t just close the entire country for 2 weeks and see what happens? Seriously, how do they know a citizen from a country not on the list did not have contact with someone infected?

  17. @don’t trust japan: China and South Korea were the first COVID 19 hot spots in the world but have contained it now. Japan has very complicated diplomatic relations with both countries. Japanese troops inflicted atrocities on the Chinese, especially involved comfort women. Be transparent and present the whole version when talking about history. You left out that US dropped atomic bombs on Nazi Japan in Hiroshima and Nagasaki but gave mercy to Nazi Germany and Nazi Italy. Japanese males commit suicide when they feel they fail people around them. American males go on shooting rampage killing their ex/ spouses, co-workers, bosses, and other innocent by-standers to express their anger and vengeance. East Asian countries have strong and effective leadership with long term vision and goals coupled with supportive and cooperative citizens who value their civic duties. They now experience an uptick of infected cases due to expatriates’ cavalier attitude. It is a huge contrast to those of western countries that are the top COVID 19 hot spots right now in the world.

  18. The flights from China and Korea can fly to other cities while other internatinal flights will go to Narita or Osaka. By limiting their flights to Tokyo and Osaka, Japan can test people more efficiently and easily and they have special facilities for those who might need help.

  19. It is really sucks but definitely necessary measures under the circumstances. Japan shouldn’t have let Chinese tourist to visit Japan during Chinese New Year holiday. Out of greed, Japanese government took money from Chinese tourists over their citizens‘ well-being. On top of that, Japan wasn’t testing as much as they should’ve because of the fear of loosing Tokyo Olympic 2020. Most of the countries took very late start to react properly to this disease thanks to Chinese government and WHO who totally downgraded the situation at the beginning. Hope we all recover from this soon!

  20. Mexico is a notable exception to this list, from what I have heard they are not testing for or reporting cases, this doesn’t seem to be a prudent exception to the Japanese list.

  21. Japan spent a lot of time screwing around in hopes of still having the Olympics. Now they have thousands of cases and still haven’t done adequate testing. If the virus spreads the prediction is their health care system can’t handle it. They can try to close their borders but unfortunately it has been there for quite a long time. If they don’t get things in check there chances are it will be going on in Japan longer than the US.

  22. There were many Chinese and Korean flights by many airlines to minor airports in Japan. I believe the restrictions were imposed to strongly discourage the airlines to fly to Japan.

  23. I live in Mexico and am dating a doctor. Cases are being reported but testing is not yet widespread. The government has recommended that nearly everyone stay home but many Mexicans are still out and about. Interestingly enough the government declared alcohol is not essential and production and distribution will cease until at least April 30. ANA is still flying to Tokyo from Mexico City so it remains an option but I suspect it will not last long. I just hope they further restrict the US/Mexican border.

  24. Please see Number of test , the result looks low number as Japanese government didn’t allow test although Docs were asking , it affect Olympics. Now officially Olympic has delayed, so just now start to blocking and testing but still they pick and choose testing unlike South Kor. South Kor, whoever even has light symptoms or flu symtoms, they can go get a check done. People are simply believed Koreans infected as large number shows in media , However, after this epidemic, Probably they are least number of infection compared to population to other countries. They even checking dead body if they had show few symtoms. Non other countries doin this. People are so simple, you see result of epidemic right now so get panic, How come you don’t scare of Radio active ? Japanese gov Cannot Handle , they choose to hide rather than face it.

  25. @Alan

    The tour guide at my guesthouse in Mexico that was going to Japan with his group just had their direct flight cancelled feom Mexico City because Japan is going on a lockdown.

    Also, yes folks are still out but very few here in Coyoacan CDMX. Amazon Mexico is still selling liquor online including beer. Actually they are all on sale! I bought a stockpile a month ago just for this reason.

  26. Great to hear Japan is canceling flights from Mexico. Hard to believe a tour group was still going to go. So this ban may essentially close Japan to all tourism.
    I live in Monterrey and there is definitely less traffic but still a fair amount.

  27. To those wondering about transits, the trend it to not allow, so I would expect Japan to follow suit.

  28. How long do you think this ban will last? With the Olympics postponed to 2021 I’m not really sure how long it could be. Does anyone have some type of assumption?

  29. People really need to learn from Japan. While the rest of the world is fighting over toilet paper they already have smart bidet in the past 40 years. It’s mind boggling that cdc asked us to wash our hands thoroughly but not butt hole.

  30. I think you overlooked a large problem here. It does in fact depend very on what nationality you have because Japan has suspended the visa waiver program for the vast part of countries previously eligible, especially those in Europe. For example you can’t enter with a German passport anymore no matter if you actually live there or not.

  31. Been to many countires across the globe but none compare to Japan. I go at least twice a year to get my “fix”. Great food, gracious people, clean and an excellent mass transit system. Almost forgot SAFE. Maybe in a year or so, hopefully.

  32. The question I would have is what about transit passengers? Is Japan allowing passengers who have been to the blocked countries transit NRT or HND (assuming they stay within the airport)?

  33. @Alex_77W

    Best blog here EVER! Top marks.

    Well said. One assumes that @dont trust japan has no concept of respect nor honour, revered in Japan as you know. Understandable since they are traits which rarely, if ever exist in the land his people colonised.

  34. Andorra
    San Marino

    Stupid place to put on the list. I can’t see how any of those country could make it to Japan without going through other EU country.

    What about US territory, Guam and Saipan?

  35. @Nicky — as of now transit is OK as long as clearing CIQ is not required. Thus, same airport transit will be allowed, but inter-airport transit will not be allowed.

    As in all such cases, best to verify with your airline and be aware that the situation can change without notice.

  36. @Endre

    I had mentioned that before. That Japan goes on lockdown on April 3rd. I was informed by a tour operator that nobody is allowed to enter.

  37. Japan is a stunning laggard when it comes to testing for COVID-19. Japan is currently testing at a rate of 215 test per million people. Thailand, Peru, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Ecuador, and Costa Rica, to name a few, are all testing at a higher rate than Japan. None of the other G7 countries test sat a lower rate than Japan.

    In 2014, Professor Ikegaya of Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine wrote in the respected journal Nature: “Autopsies in Japan are performed on only 1.6% of all deaths, the lowest rate among developed countries. Cause of death is almost always determined by simple visual inspection, as it was 100 years ago.”

    No testing: no verified COVID-19 cases

    No autopsies: no verified COVID-19 deaths

    No data: no problem



  38. WHY?! in the world would any one person be OUTSIDE … let alone at an airport?!
    Stop this stupid virus.
    Stop this economic MELT DOWN.

  39. You note that the PRC and ROK are singled out for restricting arrivals to NRT and KIX. I would imagine that the vast majority of Japanese nationals traveling (back) to Japan will be coming from the PRC and ROK, and these countries probably also account for the vast majority of traffic into other airports.

  40. I love visiting Japan, but it is laughable to see how Westerners fetishize it. The Japanese have a long history of cruel and disgusting behavior in many contexts and Abe is from a family of war criminals and sympathizers. The government was clearly sticking its head in the sand to avoid postponing the Olympics at all costs. One should note that Japan does not have an independent CDC function as exists in the US or Korea. Its National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) has a tiny budget, mostly focuses on basic research and is beholden to the political dictates of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

    The piecemeal lockdowns being put in place around the world are only extending the suffering we must endure without putting a stop to transmission of the virus. If strict quarantines requiring everyone except absolutely essential workers to stay at home were enforced for three weeks, the virus would have nowhere else to go and any infections among essential workers could more easily be traced without civilians still going out to exercise or shop. Government subsidies to counteract the economic losses for just three weeks would obviously be much lower than the numbers we have seen for what is expected to be months of social distancing.

  41. Banning or requiring 14 day quarantine? Your headline doesn’t match the content so I’m confused.

  42. The ban is until the end of April. I received a message from the Japanese Embassy this morning.

  43. All very interesting.You are all bitching and moaning about not being able to travel. But your missing the big picture!!.We breed exponentially. Out strip our resources. When we have to many animals in the forest we reduce the number.Its mother natures way of warning us slow down.She has done it throughout history but we never listen.

  44. Japan should permanently impose travel ban from those countries except for those who hold a work visa or PR in Japan.

  45. @ George — Hmmm, permanently? Doesn’t seem very good for long term tourism prospects…

  46. Jkjkjk

    we were in Japan in Mid February, there was a toilet paper shortage because the false rumors it was made in China and imports were barred.

  47. I really need to get back to Japan (had to visit my mother in USA, return trip to japan was suppose to be 4/2). I’m wondering if I just pick some non-banned country to visit for 15 days, then continue on to Japan if that would work. Anyone?

  48. @Naomi as long as you left japan before april 3rd PR and spouse/child residents of japanese citizens can return.

  49. I am a permanent resident in Japan & have lived & worked here for over 30 years.
    I have paid HUGE amounts of taxes & social insurance over the years and always thought “well, besides not being able to vote, there’s no downside to not having a Japanese passport” … until now.
    If I leave Japan today, I am not welcome to return.
    If a Japanese passport holder (born many years after I came to Japan) leaves Japan today they are welcome to return.
    I guess it’s times like this when nationalism rears it’s ugly head.

  50. I was due to fly to japan on the 16th of April for my wedding.
    I have a Japanese fiancée and we were due to marry on the 20th April.
    It has taken so long to prepare , we are both absolutely gutted.
    I love her so much , everyday is now a mental struggle until this covid 19 is finally over, when ever that will be.

  51. @Rick depends your residency and flight time. NRT closes at night. If it is the same day flight in same terminal, you are fine coz you don’t need to go thru custom. If you do not have a visa (no visa exempt and visa on arrival now, you need a physical visa), you cannot leave the terminal to catch your next flight in different terminal or on next day

  52. @Daiko – not correct regarding returning to Japan.
    It states, “Foreign nationals who departed from Japan with re-entry permission on or after April 3, even if they have one of the abovementioned statuses of residence are, in principle, subject to refusal of landing without special exceptional circumstances. If you are residing in Japan, please refrain from traveling to areas where landing will be denied as indicated in the following listing.“

    The exception is the “Special Permanent Residents” who are mainly of Korean origin & living in Japan for generations.
    “Permanent Residents” like myself who came from a wester country decades ago are not now welcome back if they leave.

  53. Hi I’m trying to get home from Canada and I know this has been asked but am I still allowed to transit though Narita? Im doing Regina – Vancouver – Narita – Kuala Lumpur. I’m a Malaysian citizen. It’s a same day, 2+ hr layover in Narita.

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