Dear incoming TUJ students:

On Saturday night, Japan announced additional entry restrictions into the country based on concerns related to a new variant of COVID-19 that emerged in the UK and South Africa, and continuing increase in the number of COVID cases throughout the country. While the COVID numbers are still comparatively low (less than 0.00008% of the population in Tokyo on Saturday tested positive for the virus), the government is intent on taking additional actions to minimize the spread of the virus and immediately stamp out any possible spread of this new variant.

As we have mentioned previously, flexibility has been one of the key components in dealing with the pandemic. Unfortunately, there is no way to control or predict how each country or airline will react to each development related to COVID-19. Japan has been trying to balance its approach to COVID-19 over the past several months to protect the population while keeping the country open for business. At this point, Japan feels like it needs to take additional measures that likely impact you and your spring semester.

[URGENT] Your Ability to Enter Japan – New Immigration Restrictions

We have confirmed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Japan is preparing to suspend the entry of most newcomers (including students) into the country at least through the end of January. Here is what we have confirmed:


If you are coming into Japan on a student visa from these 11 specific countries (Singapore, Vietnam, Republic of Korea, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos and Taiwan), you may still enter the country on a student visa after January 4, 2021.


If you are coming from the United States or any other country designated as Level 3 or higher on its COVID scale, there is an extremely limited opportunity to enter Japan so long as you: (1) can enter Japan by January 3, 2021, at 11:59 pm; (2) currently possess your student visa, and (3) have not been to the United Kingdom or South Africa over the past 14 days.


If you are coming from the UK or South Africa, you may not enter the country. Naturally, these restrictions and the exceptions could be adjusted at any point in time by the Japanese government.

Unless you are already in the country, this means that your options for the spring semester have likely changed.

[URGENT] Your Spring Semester Options

We know how much you have been looking forward to joining us here in Tokyo in person. We admire your persistence and flexibility in planning your Tokyo experience. For those who are not already in Japan or those residing in the 11 specific countries listed above, here are several options that are currently available at this point.

  • Arrive into Tokyo by January 3rd. You could adjust your schedule to enter Japan before 11:59 pm on January 3, 2021. All of the pre-departure requirements including health monitoring and COVID testing apply in this case. You will be asked to certify your health in the 14-days leading up to entry into Japan. Also, please make sure that the COVID test complies with the 72-hour requirement as we have had two students turned away from flights in Los Angeles this week. They were able to obtain new tests in LA, but their arrival into Japan was subsequently delayed. Your COVID test must be taken AND results received within 72 hours of the departing time of your first flight on your way to Japan.
  • Take courses remotely through TUJ for the entire spring semester. We are happy to accommodate you through online courses and other offerings. One of the challenges with this option is the time difference, but we did have overseas students successfully navigate things during the summer semester and fall semester. You can join courses live or watch the recorded versions.
  • Take courses remotely through TUJ initially and then enter Japan if the borders open to students again before the end of the semester. Also, if the borders open back up for students in February, you could possibly finish your semester in Tokyo. Your Certificate of Eligibility is valid until April 30th.
  • Deferring your arrival. If you prefer, it is possible for you to defer the start of your studies until the summer or fall semester. At TUJ, we do run a full summer semester so this would be an option for you. Please note though that you may need to re-apply for a new visa.

[URGENT DEADLINE – December 30th at 5:00 pm (JST)]. Please notify us of your plan to enter Japan

If you do plan on arriving into Japan by the end of the day on January 3rd, we can work with your new arrival date anytime between now and the end of the day on January 3rd. However, we need to know that you are coming by December 30th at 5:00 pm. We have contacted the transportation company (they need two days advance notice about your arrival) and been working with the dorms (we may need your flexibility here in terms of reassigning your dorm facility and/or moving after your initial two week quarantine period). We should be able to accommodate students who inform us of their intent to enter Japan by the end of the day on January 3rd so long as we have received notice by the December 30th deadline. If we hear from you after this point, it will likely be too late to get you into the country until Japan relaxes its entry policy again at a later date.

In any event, we will be sending out a questionnaire shortly so that you can inform us of your plans for the upcoming semester. More than anything, it has been our desire to expose you to the magic of Japan and TUJ. It is unfortunate that the ongoing pandemic continues to throw up roadblocks along the way. However, we sincerely appreciate your understanding.

With respect to spring semester, we are here to serve, advise, and guide you. We look forward to serving you over the course of the upcoming semester either in person or online.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Finally, please accept our sincerest apologies with respect to this complication. Unfortunately, the pandemic and immigration policies are outside of our control. In terms of airfare to Japan, we would encourage you to work with your airline if you do not intend to enter Japan before January 3rd. It has been our experience that the airlines are being extra flexible during these extraordinary times and either refunding purchased tickets or shifting them without change fees.

We look forward to hearing from you again soon.

TUJ Dean,

Matthew J. Wilson, Esq.