Japan has announced that it will end all remaining restrictions on tourism and reopen its borders from 11 October 2022 onwards.
While this is great news for would-be travellers, there’s just one hitch: Japan doesn’t recognise Sinopharm or Sinovac. If you’ve received either of these vaccines, you’ll be treated as an unvaccinated individual, with implications for pre-departure testing and quarantine.
But now there’s a new development: Japan will widen its list of recognised vaccines to include all WHO-approved vaccines, including those made in China.
Japan expands recognised vaccine list
Japan’s COVID regulations for international arrivals currently depend on two factors:
- 14-day travel history
- vaccination status.
Where travel history is concerned, Japan divides all countries into three categories: Blue, Yellow and Red (Singapore is a Blue country; there are no countries currently in the Red category).
Where vaccination status is concerned, Japan defines “fully vaccinated” as individuals who have received at least three doses of the following vaccines:
- Janssen (only two doses required)
Notice the absence of Sinopharm and Sinovac.
Here’s a summary of the relevant testing and quarantine restrictions for each permutation.
|3 days (home)|
|3 days (home)|
|3 days (facility)|
|*PDT= Pre-departure test, OAT= On-arrival test|
^Negative PCR test required to end quarantine
Travellers who do not meet Japan’s definition of fully vaccinated are required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of their flight, regardless of their 14-day travel history.
In addition, should their 14-day travel history include Red or Yellow countries, they will be subject to on-arrival testing and three days of quarantine.
Even though the Red category is currently empty, Yellow includes countries like India, Maldives, Turkey, Fiji and Vietnam. This means a Sinovac-vaccinated individual who had recently returned to Singapore from Vietnam would not be able to travel to Japan for 14 days, unless he/she was willing to quarantine on arrival.
From 11 October 2022, Japan will recognise any WHO-approved vaccination.
“On and after Oct 11, so long as a visitor has been vaccinated three times with any of the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved vaccines – including China-made vaccines – they will be able to enter Japan without having to submit or produce a negative test.”
This adds three additional vaccinations, all made in China, to the list.
|💉 Vaccinations recognised by Japan|
(from 11 October 2022)
Three doses of any of the above vaccinations, in any combination, will satisfy the fully vaccinated criteria (Janssen only requires two doses).
Unvaccinated children under the age of 18 who travel with fully vaccinated parents/guardians will be treated as fully vaccinated (refer to the bottom of page 17 for the source).
Summary: Travel to Japan
Below is a quick recap of the travel process to Japan, effective 11 October 2022.
|🇯🇵 Summary: Travel to Japan|
From 11 Oct 22
Japan will expand its list of recognised vaccinations from 11 October 2022 to include any WHO-approved vaccination.
This adds CanSino, Sinopharm and Sinovac to the mix, and travellers who have received at least three doses of these vaccines will be given the same treatment as other fully vaccinated travellers.