When Will Travel Resume to Japan | Covid 19 Vaccine Timeline

When Will Travel Resume to Japan?

CURRENT PROJECTION – End of August/Early September, 2021

See timeline below for details on this projection.

Last Updated April 9, 2021 – Japan changes rule to accept foreign vaccine study data removing need for domestic data before approval. See below timeline for more details.

Current Status: No travel possible for tourists to Japan

This is expected to change for vaccinated travelers first, beginning late 2021.

Japan stopped allowing travel for tourists back in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic. Since then it has not been possible for tourists to enter Japan.

Projected Timeline to Resumed Travel to Japan

According to Japan Today the Japanese government is still currently vaccinating the medical workers as of April 2, 2021. The next step will be elderly citizens (65yrs+) beginning the week of May 10. They project that it will take 2 weeks to inoculate the full 36 million elderly citizens in these two weeks. After this two more vaccines, Moderna and AstraZeneca are set to be approved and begin use in Japan. By end of July the government expects to have secured and vaccinated the adult population of Japan.

See the full details in the timeline below.

Which Vaccines are Available in Japan?

As of April 2, 2021 just the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is approved (120 million doses)

Upcoming Approvals

  • May 2021 – Moderna vaccine (50 million doses by May) & AstraZeneca vaccine (120 million doses)
  • Late 2021 – Novavax vaccine (250 million doses)

Current Vaccine Rollout Timeline in Japan

Winter 2021

  • January 2021 – Japan has secured over 564 million doses of vaccines for its population of 126 million. [source]
  • February 2021 – Japan approves Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for domestic use (contracted 144 million doses) [source]
  • February 2021 – AstraZeneca applies for approval (typically 3 month process). [source]
  • February 2021 – Japan begins vaccination of its roughly 4 million healthcare workers mid February. [source]
  • End of Feb 2021 – Novavax vaccine enters clinical trials and begins production of 250 million doses domestically.

Spring 2021

  • March 2021 – EU export ban on vaccines pushes back all dates roughly 2 weeks. [source]
  • April 2, 2021 – Japan has vaccinated just under 1 million people with their first shot. [source]
  • April 5, 2021 – NHK Announces vaccine distribution numbers for the remainder of April. The table below shows the distribution to each of the 43 prefectures. This table is a bit confusing, but after some quick math you can paint the national picture.

    Tokyo + Kanagawa + Osaka = 3 prefectures, so 43 minus those three leaves 40 in the Other Prefectures category. According to Wikipedia, there are 1,719 municipalities in Japan.

    This means each week has the following number of vaccines distributed nation wide in Japan.
    Week of April 5th | 89,700 doses nation wide = (3,900*3) + (1,950*40)
    Week of April 12th | 448,500 doses nation wide = (19,500*3) + (9,750*40)
    Week of April 19th | 448,500 doses nation wide = (19,500*3) + (9,750*40)
    Week of April 26th | 1,676,025 doses nation wide = 975*1,719
NHK Covid 19 Vaccine Timeline in Japan April 2021.
NHK Covid 19 Vaccine Timeline in Japan April 2021. [source]
  • April 9, 2021 – Japan changes rule to accept foreign vaccine study data removing need for domestic data before approval. With Moderna, Astrazenica, and NovaVax all in the pipeline to be approved this year, this could add other vaccines to the list for approval soon. [source]
  • May 10, 2021 – Japan plans to begin a two week long campaign to vaccinate all 36 million elderly citizens (age 65+) [source]
  • May 2021 – Japan is set to approve the Moderna Vaccine while having imported 50 million doses for use. [source]
  • May 2021 – Astrazeneca’s vaccine is expected to be approved in Japan and imports are expected to begin from the US.

Summer 2021

  • June 2021 – Japan’s contract with Pfizer BioNTech is to have received 100 million doses by the end of June. [source]
  • July 2021 – Japan plans to begin vaccination of all adults age 16+. [not confirmed]
  • End of August 2021 – With three vaccines approved and over 200 million doses received vaccinations should be complete for all adults age 16+. [not confirmed]
  • Late 2021 – Novavax vaccine aproval is expected and an additional 250 million doses will become available.

Based on this timeline and current information, it is reasonable to expect a 80% vaccination rate for Covid-19 in Japan by the end of August/early September.

We will keep updating this page as new information is available. Please understand that all information on future events are simply predictions and are subject to change.

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