William Hwang comments

Posted in: Japan to ease COVID-19 entry curbs on foreigners with resident visas: NHK See in context

I just got back Sunday on a humanities engineer visa. Starting August 5, people on similar visas who left before lockdown have been allowed back in. Requirements are:

Getting certificate of reentry from Japanese consulate

In San Francisco, you have to fill out a form and present your passport, residence card, and photocopy of back of your reentry slip in your passport showing your departure date. You must do this in person and you must make an appointment. Initial hurdle was the visa section wouldn’t pick up the phone. Recently I see the website allows reservations to be made online. I had an appointment for 10:30, but showed up at 10 opening and they gave me a no. 1 service card, so sort of first come first serve. Anyway went in on a Tuesday and certificate was ready on Friday. I went back on Friday at 10 but they told me they only hand out the certificates at 2:30 to 3:30. Came back and got it. Check handout time.

Getting results of covid test in 72 hours before flight

In sf, you can get covid tests for free at CVS and elsewhere for cheap prices. However because of the backlog, results arrive by internet about four to seven days later. There were several places offering same day results but when I tried to book them online all I got was “unavailable”. In any case Japan has a recommended form for test results and I don’t know if these places would fill it out or if printouts of their own would be acceptable in Japan (Japan says other forms also accepted, but...)

I found a concierge doctor office which takes appointments online and offers next day results. Went in at 2 pm and got results next day at 12. They filled out Japanese form for extra charge. They send results with form by email, but I went in to pickup the originals since you know... This cost like 250 dollars for the test and 35 for the form. So wherever you are look for concierge doctors.

Getting on United Airlines flight to Narita

With above two documents, they let you board. They had denied me boarding two other times for insufficient documentation out of abundance of caution.

Getting covid test at Narita

Spit test now, not nasal throat swab. Results in two hours. Plane landed at 2, got out at 5.

Designated quarantine location

This probably doesn’t mean what you think. Japan issues a list of hotels near the airport but that is all it is. A list. From the form, I think you can stay at any hotel in Tokyo you “designate”. Hotels in Tokyo are empty now. Book one week on any hotel site and then rebook for another week later. Don’t need to tell them you are quarantining. Or you can stay at your own place.

No public transportation

You can book a special limousine from the airport to Tokyo online in advance. Rakuraku taxi. Cash only I think. 30000 yen. A big van. Seats six or so. Usual taxi costs 25000 or so, therefore not unreasonable. They also offer rides to places like Osaka and everywhere else for much higher prices.

Yes yes I know some of the above solutions are expensive, but I am glad to be back.

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