ROSCon and Visas for Japan

Hello everyone,

Has anyone ran into Japanese’s travel restrictions? Below in italics and quotes is a communication we received when preparing for our trip in the fall. Has anyone else run into the need for a COR? Do we all have a sponsor? Have you found event registration to be enough?

Thanks,

Jamie

“As you may be aware, Japan is one of the last major economies to reopen to tourism (they recently announced a very limited reopening, but only to certain tour groups). Furthermore, Japan only recently (in March 2022) reopened to business travellers, but only if they are able to obtain a Certificate of Registration (COR) that is issued by a Japanese company.”

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Japan is changing travel restrictions due to COVID, and in the process of lifting what was a cautious travel ban on tourism.

You can find the information Border measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) | Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Some useful more human readable updates Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Restrictions | Travel Japan(Japan National Tourism Organization)

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Thanks, this is super helpful.

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Dear Sir, Everyone
There are still various restrictions on entry into Japan.
Please check the URL below for the current restrictions.

https://www.japan.travel/en/coronavirus/

Best regards.
Oshima

Indeed, we’re all watching the travel and entry requirements carefully as they evolve.

Based on what we know today, we expect that the business invitation requirement will be dropped sometime prior to ROSCon in October. Of course, that might not happen. In that case, we are making plans to be able to offer business invitations to ROSCon attendees as needed.

We’ll update you all as we learn more (though it’ll likely be another little while before there’s a definitive change in policy to report). Thanks for your patience!

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I’m not involved in organising ROSCon, but I do organise ROSCon JP, which will be held as a workshop this year, so I have a stake in seeing a successful ROSCon with loads of international visitors. Nevertheless, what follows is from my personal perspective and is not an official policy of ROSCon or ROSCon JP.

I have been keeping a close eye on the entry requirements as they’ve changed over the past 6 months, and how they are probably going to change in the coming months. This is a long post but I hope that it gives some clarity and reassurance that everyone will be able to attend ROSCon in October.

The requirements for testing, vaccination and quarantine changed on the 1st of June to be:

  • People from “blue” countries (98 countries, including the United States and China) are exempt from on-arrival testing and post-arrival self-isolation.
  • People from "yellow countries (99 countries) are exempt as long as they have had three rounds of vaccinations.
  • People from other countries are required to have an on-arrival test and self-isolate or go into government quarantine for up to a week.

The requirements to be allowed into Japan are currently:

  • The number of people allowed entry per day is 20,000. This cap is based on the testing and quarantine capacity at the airports that are allowed to receive international arrivals.
  • Students at Japanese universities and similar educational institutes can apply for and get the necessary resident visa.
  • Family members of Japanese residents (including permanent residents and current resident visa holders) can apply for and get a visa to visit Japan.
  • Tourists from a very small number of countries on a package tour approved by the Japanese government are allowed in, but must be accompanied by their full-time tour guide at all times.
  • From June the 10th, tourists in package tours with a full-time chaperone will also be allowed entry. As well as being a tour guide, the chaperone is responsible for making sure the tourists follow all COVID-19-related requirements, such as mask wearing.
  • Business travellers who have an invitation from a Japanese company (not an individual, it must be a legally-registered entity in Japan) can get a visa to enter Japan.

The one that would apply to ROSCon attendees is that last one: business travellers.

There are several factors involved in how the Japanese government is likely to change the entry requirements over the next few months.

  • The biggest factor is the number of cases in Japan. The omicron wave is well past its peak now and case numbers are about 10% of the peak, and still trending down. With no sign of a new variant or wave in other countries, the outlook for case numbers is currently good. However we’ve learned throughout this pandemic that it’s hard to predict what will happen in the next few months.
  • The COVID-19 situation overseas; if most other countries also have low cases it’s less risky to open the borders.
  • The number of three-dose vaccinated people in Japan. A high vaccination rate reduces the impact of another wave. Although over 80% of the population is fully vaccinated, this is relatively low compared with many other developed countries and the government is still fighting to boost it. However it is high enough that the death rate due to COVID-19 is now very low.
  • How noisy the business and tourism lobbies in Japan get. Currently they are getting very noisy (for Japan) due to the perceived slowness of the government in opening the borders relative to other countries. The business lobby wants to resume normal business travel, and the tourism lobby wants tourists. For example, there is an increasing concern amongst the tourism organisations that Japan is losing tourists to other countries.
  • The general attitude of the population. This is the opposite of the business and tourism organisations: the closed border is in general quite popular in Japan still. If the borders were to be opened and then cases in Japan started going up, the support for the government amongst the populace would likely plummet.
  • The political aspect is also important. There is a major election due to be held in July, and the prime minister needs to do well in the election to secure his own power base for making and enacting future policies unrelated to COVID-19. If his party does well he will be free to make major changes in the entry requirements to satisfy the business and tourism organisations (not to mention members of his own party who are agitating for a faster opening) despite the risk in lower public support. The current outlook is that his party will do well, as public support for the current government is high.

My personal prediction is that we will not see much movement in the border restrictions beyond the 10th of June until after the election in July. Then we will likely see a very rapid opening up, similar to what happened in Europe and New Zealand. By the end of the summer I expect the border to be fully open again, in line with other countries that have had similar border restrictions.

Finally, the current rumour “based on government sources” is that the next change is likely to be raising the daily arrivals cap to 30,000 on July the 1st. I don’t expect anything to change before then, as the government is likely going to be watching how the situation changes after tour groups start arriving on the 10th of June.

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If this is useful to someone, they were the requirements that are needed, which were sent to me from the Embassy this month:
1.Invitation letter https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/files/000472928.pdf

  1. Materials or brochures of the activity to be held in Japan

  2. Letter of guarantee https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/files/000472926.pdf

  3. Certificate of company or institution registration (⑪ 登記 簿謄本 又 は 会社 / 団体 説明書 (注) 上場 企業 は 会社 報写 し を 提出 す る る こと で , 法人 登記 簿謄本 又 は 会社 会社 団体 概 要 説明 説明 説明 説明 説明 説明書 は 提出 です。 ・ 個人 招 へ い 場合 は , 法人 登記 本 又 は 会社 / 概 要 説明 書 の 代わ り に 「在職 在職 証明書」 を 提出 し し て くだ さい) guarantor your invitee)

  1. Japan Itinerary https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/files/000472934.pdf

  2. ERFS certificate (must be processed on the page of the Ministry of Health of Japan by the inviter)

The process can start three months before the planned trip.Visa issuance takes 5 business days.
Best,
Belén

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I agree with this prediction.

A small update: The election in Japan has been fixed at the 10th of July. I hope to see movement on the border restrictions shortly after that date.

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