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Pledge, Residence Record, Quarantine: Working Holiday in Japan during COVID-19

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Pledge, Residence Record, Quarantine: Working Holiday in Japan during COVID-19

covid safety during a working holiday in japan

Pledge, Residence Record, Quarantine: Working Holiday in Japan during COVID-19

Latest update: November 19, 2020.

This page answers some common questions about a Working Holiday in Japan since the issuance of Working Holiday visas has resumed in late October 2020. As procedures and regulations might change at any time, please always consult with the Japanese embassy or consulate in charge of you. This page is for basic information purposes only. All information has been collected to the best of our knowledge, but we do not guarantee the accuracy of this information. The information is not legally binding in any way. 

Is it possible to get a Working Holiday visa now?

Yes, since end of October 2020, after a suspension of 7.5 months, Working Holiday Visas for Japan are issued again to individuals of all nationalities who can get a Working Holiday Visa. You need however a written pledge from a Japanese company (“Residence Track”).

What is the written pledge (“Residence Track”)?

The written pledge is a document written in Japanese (see it here), which must be filled out and signed/stamped by a Japanese company, pledging that you as the traveller ona Working Holiday visa, will follow the COVID-19 related safety regulations imposed by Japanese government. The company signing the pledge takes responsibility for you during your entire stay in Japan and will face drastic consequences should you not obey to these regulations. This is a big responsibility that few Japanese are willing to take.

Can I buy a written pledge somewhere?

No, it is illegal for a Japanese company to just sell the written pledge. Should you find any such offer, you should be very careful if it is a legitimate one.

So where do I get the written pledge (“Residence Track”) from?

There are three possibilities:

  • From an employer in Japan, which is a Japanese company registered in the Commercial Register of Japan with a commercial registration number
  • From a Japanese language school willing to issue the pledge to its language students
  • From a Working Holiday support organization registered as a company in Japan such as World Unite! that supports you during your whole time in Japan

(Source)

When should I apply for a Working Holiday visa?

If you book Working Holiday support with World Unite! and if you want to come to Japan as soon as possible on a Working Holiday Visa, you should allow a minimum of 3 weeks of lead time: Around one week to prepare your visa application documents and get the pledge, around 7-10 days for the embassy to process your documents and issue your visa and a little bit of buffer time to make sure you get everything sorted before the departure of your flight.

In some countries you need to make an appointment with the Japanese embassy or consulate to hand in your visa application.

The visa validity (the time between when the visa is issued and when you have to arrive in Japan) is currently 3 months in most cases. The one year you get on a Working Holiday visa then counts from the day you enter Japan (for some nationalities only 6 months, for Australians a maximum of 18 months).

I already had a Working Holiday visa issued before the border closure in March 2020 that I have not yet used to enter Japan. Can I use it to enter Japan now?

No, you need to re-apply for your visa, which is possible if you have not yet completed your 30th year of life by the time of applying for the visa. For Australians this might be different, we will add this part as soon as we have clear information.

Which COVID-19 regulations do I have to follow?

1) COVID-19 tests

Travellers from most countries need to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result (in English), with the test made within 72 hours prior to departure time of your flight to Japan. Currently only if you are flying into Japan from Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan (and some more Asian countries for whose citizens there is no Working Holiday visa), this is not needed. This list of countries may change depending on the corona situation, so please double-check.

Your flight can have stop-overs on the way to Japan, but you are not allowed to leave the airport transit area.

You will then be tested again (free of charge) on arrival at the airport in Japan (only Narita, Haneda and Osaka are currently receiving international flights) and you have to wait for 1-2 hours at the health section of the airport to get the test result. You cannot have a connecting flight (from Narita/Haneda/Osaka) to another Japanese airport on arrival to Japan and quarantine there. You have to enter Japan from Narita/Haneda/Osaka and proceed directly the the quarantine location from there.

2) Quarantine measures

Even if both PCR test are negative, you have to do 14 days of quarantine, which count from the day after the arrival (so it is 15 nights of quarantine).

The quarantine can only be done at:

  • a hotel that offers the possibility to do quarantine
  • an apartment/room rented by you that is not shared (no other people are allowed to live there sharing rooms, sanitary installations, kitchen etc with you)
  • your own family living in Japan

For the entire duration of the qurantine you are not allowed to leave your room. E.g. you are not allowed to use the hotel’s restaurant, breakfast room, lounge, or to go outside to do grocery shopping. So you need food to be delivered to your room.

On the way from the airport to your quarantine location you are not allowed to use any public transport, shared shuttles, domestic flights or regular taxis. You must make use of a vehicle that is only transporting yourself. You can for instance use this special service.

3) Tracing apps

You have to install two apps on your smartphone and use them during your entire time in Japan: A) LINE and B) Japan government’s Covid-19 tracing app

A) You will be asked on arrival at the airport how you can be contacted at any time while in Japan. The easiest option is to make use of the LINE app. You should install it before your travel to Japan and register it with your current (foreign) mobile phone number (which won’t change in case you change to a Japanese SIM card later).

You might be contacted by health ministry officials via text message asking about your health status and current location. These messages are only sent in Japanese. You must reply to these messages. World Unite! will help you with this if needed.

B) Japanese government Covid-19 tracing app:

What will happen if I disrespect the COVID-19 regulations?

The company that has issued your pledge will get serious problems with Japanese authorities and will therefore do the uttermost to avoid that you disrespect the regulations, e.g. by imposing certain rules to you (e.g. where you have to spend the quarantine), and asking you to sign a binding agreement with them, which could result in legal claims by the company if you breach the agreement.

Additionally, the Japanese authorities can impose high fines to you and deportation.

Conclusion: You have to take the COVID-19 regulation seriously!

Is travelling within Japan currently possible?

Travelling within Japan is currently possible. There is even the GO TO travel campaign by Japanese government to support domestic tourism that you can use if you are on a Working Holiday Visa, allowing you to get subsidized rates for hotels, tours, domestic flights, attractions etc. Some regional tourism associations have additional promotional campaigns, so travelling within Japan is currently cheaper than usually.

What is the job situation like currently for someone on a Working Holiday visa?

It depends on the sector. In some sectors it is more difficult than before the COVID pandemic, whereas others have recovered or have always remained unaffected.

More difficult:

  • Tourism related jobs (hotels, resorts…) – as regular foreign tourists can still not yet enter Japan, there are less job opportunities in the tourism sector. Tourism is expected to resume from around April 2021.
  • Teaching English jobs – many language schools still don’t have the same attendance as before the pandemics as lots of classes have changed to online. English teachers providing online lessons are often not physically located in Japan, but providing their lessons from abroad.

Recovered or not affected:

  • Restaurant jobs, factory jobs, cleaning jobs, farm work, sales jobs etc. are available.
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