In May, Japan Will Drop COVID-19 Testing & Vaccination Protocols

Great news! Japan will lift all COVID-19-related border restrictions on May 8, 2023. It’s one of the last remaining countries to drop pandemic-era rules for visitors.

“Notice: All border measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be lifted on May 8, 2023,” the Japan National Tourism Organization posted on its website. “Those who are entering Japan on or after May 8, 2023, will not be required to present a Valid Vaccination Certificate or a Covid-19 Negative Test Certificate.”

Japan first reopened to individual travelers last year, but underwent a series of rule changes in the meantime. Initially, the country only welcomed travelers that were visiting on supervised tours before welcoming independent travelers in the fall of 2022.

At the moment, all travelers planning to visit to Japan are required to show either proof of three doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine or proof of a negative test conducted with 72 hours of departure, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

Japan also recently eliminated mandatory mask wearing on March 13, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Now, its official stance is that “the use of [a] mask will depend on personal choices.” Japanese authorities still recommends people wear masks in certain situations, including in “crowded settings such as crowded commuter trains and buses.”

Japan is one of the last Asian countries to do away with COVID-19-related border rules. Earlier this year, both Hong Kong and Singapore lifted all pandemic-era entry rules. That followed several countries doing the same last year, including Thailand and the Maldives.

China, which maintained one of the strictest borders in the world during the pandemic, has also resumed issuing international tourist visas, according to the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States of America. Travelers must still undergo testing, however.

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