Japan’s travel restrictions have been difficult for many travelers, including international students in Japan, but things seem to be improving. According to Nikkei Asia, Japan could allow foreigners to visit the country for short business trips, study abroad and technical training.
The government is expected to announce the policy changes as early as this week, with implementation to begin this month. COVID-19 cases are falling in Japan and the country aims to gradually ease the ban on foreigners entering.
The quarantine requirement for short-term business travelers will be reduced to three days for vaccinated visitors, from 10 days now. Companies and organizations hosting foreign nationals will be required to monitor their activities, he said. The shorter quarantine requirement will also apply to Japanese nationals returning from overseas business trips.
Japan Travel Restrictions: What Students Need to Know
The Nikkei reports that as of October 1, some 370,000 foreigners have been unable to enter the country due to Japan’s travel restrictions, while about 70% are technical trainees and foreign students.
Sectors that are struggling with labor shortages – including the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors – as well as schools that have been unable to accept international students, have called to allow new arrivals. Businesses, schools or other hospitality organizations will need to report their infection control measures to an appropriate government agency.
Travel restrictions imposed by Japan have led international students to campaign to return to the country. This includes a social media photo campaign that reportedly saw over 200 people from 38 countries to take part. Students are said to be sharing photos of themselves holding signs stating how long they have been banned from Japan with the hashtag #EducationIsNotTourism.
Previously, more than 650 scholars and students from universities in Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries called on the Japanese government to resume the issuance of student and researcher visas, which was suspended amid the pandemic.
According to The Japan Times, scholars, professionals and students led by Paul Hastings, executive director of the Japan ICU Foundation, submitted a petition to Kanji Yamanouchi, Japan’s consul general in New York, warning that the ban on new visas “eroded the global market”. the relationships and reputation of Japanese educational institutions.
“While Japan has begun to send its students and scholars abroad, the country does not receive students and researchers. The lack of reciprocity harms carefully cultivated partnerships” between Japanese universities and schools in other countries, the petition states.