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As part of its efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and infections with SARS-CoV-2, the Japanese government has closed its borders for most forms of international travel. However, as a non-citizen resident it is permitted to travel abroad as long as certain restrictions are followed. Most importantly, even after testing negative for the virus at the airport upon arrival a foreign national must quarantine themselves for 14 days ‘at a location designated by the quarantine station chief’. The linked document does not mention it but other Japanese government sources such as the Japanese embassy in Germany indicate that this location may be one’s place of residence. It is not permitted to use public transportation (including taxis) to reach the designated location.

This raises two questions:

  • assuming my designated location is my place of residence, by what means am I permitted to reach it?

    My trip to the closest international airport (KIX) is about two hours by train. I do not own a car but I do have a driving licence. I do not have any friends or family who could pick me up at the airport. Specifically for me: would renting a car to drive to my apartment be a permitted way of getting there?

  • How strict are the actual quarantine requirements and how strictly are they enforced?

    e.g. would I be permitted to buy groceries at the local supermarket or must I order deliveries?

(I am aware that agreements have been reached with a number of countries facilitating travel arrangements between Japan and these countries, especially for business travel. However, the country I would visit is not on this list as of 14/10, so the more relaxed restrictions are not applicable to my case.)

3

For the first question, rental car is accepted according to the Japanese embassy in Indonesia.

また,公共交通機関には,鉄道やバスの他,タクシーも含まれます(レンタカーは問題ないとされています。)。

Public transportation includes trains and buses, as well as taxis (car rentals are not considered a problem).

https://www.id.emb-japan.go.jp/oshirase20_31.html

as well as the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

問1 対象となった者は、空港等から待機場所の自宅(又は宿泊施設等)までどのように移動すればいいですか。

空港から自宅までの交通手段(自家用車、レンタカー等)をご自身で確保していただくようお願いしています。電車、バス、タクシー、航空機(国内線)、旅客船などの公共交通機関を使用しないよう、強く要請しています。

Q1 How should a person (subject to the quarantine) get from the airport or other location to his or her home (or accommodation)?

You are asked to secure your own transportation (private cars, rental cars, etc.) from the airport to your home. We strongly urge you not to use public transportation such as trains, buses, taxis, domestic flights, or passenger ships.

[The "strongly urge" is in fact a requirement worded politely.]

問2 移動手段が確保できない場合、どうすれば良いですか。

万が一用意できていない場合、ご自身で空港周辺の宿泊施設等を確保して、そこで待機いただくことになります。なるべく出国前に移動手段を確保していただきますようお願いします。

Q2 What should I do if I cannot find transportation?

In the unlikely event that you are not able to secure your own transportation, you will need to find accommodations near the airport and wait there. We recommend that you try to secure your own transportation before leaving the country.

A list of companies that could provide car rentals/hires (in Japanese)

https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/kenkou_iryou/covid19_qa_kanrenkigyou_00001.html#Q4-1

From the list provided by the government, it seems that car hires with a chauffeur are also acceptable, at least from the companies listed. Some of them claim to satisfy the requirement with designated cars and disinfection procedure. But call ahead and have a backup plan.

Also note that you may be required to stay at the airport (in a designated facility) until a preliminary result is available. If you have a negative preliminary result, you may stay at hotels with no shared facility.

For the second question, I would assume no since there is no exception mentioned. But I cannot find a source directly answering the question.

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