Japan is currently in its second State of Emergency and is not allowing entry to foreign tourists, including the United States. It is still unclear when tourists will be able to enter the country, but the vaccine brings hope of a reopening starting in the fall of 2021.
Japan’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
Japan is set to start vaccinations for medical professionals on February 17. In mid-March they will begin issuing vaccine vouchers to citizens aged 65 and older and start inoculations at the beginning of April.
Although no clear plan has been laid out by the Prime Minister and the national government beyond April 1, many local governments are planning to complete vaccinating residents by the end of September.
The Tokyo Olympics Playbook
The Tokyo Olympics are currently scheduled to begin on July 23, 2021, and the organization has released a playbook outlining the measures that will be taken against COVID-19.
As of right now, it’s not looking like Japan will allow foreign spectators to attend the games and there will be pretty strict protocols.
Anyone that arrives in Japan from overseas will need to test negative for the virus 72 hours prior to departure. They also need to give a complete plan of their activities for the first 14 days and will need special permission to ride public transportation.
Visiting participants will have occasional COVID-19 screenings, and athletes will be tested every four days.
It’s still unknown whether there‘ll be spectators allowed at the games. If permitted, the limited number of spectators will be asked to refrain from chanting and shouting, and instead cheer on the athletes by clapping.
What About Tourism?
Like I said at the beginning, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. If Japan can get their hands on all the vaccines they’ve paid for and inoculate everyone in a timely manner, we may see tourism start back up by fall.
Japan is one of the most organized countries I’ve ever seen. I believe they have the capability, diligence, and efficiency to reach herd immunity before the end of this year.
We’re still optimistic that our fall tours will run, and even more optimistic about Spring of 2022. Naturally our decision for running any of our tours will be based on the safety of our guests and ourselves.
We’ll continue to watch the situation closely and we look forward to showing all of our tour participants the best of Japan.