Tokyo Covid Vaccine

Estimate Japan’s Post-Covid Borders Reopening Timeline

⏱ 4 minutes

Vaccination rollout in Japan : the key for reopening the borders

Covid 🦠 vaccination in Japan did not only started very late (in mid-February, 2 months after many developed countries), but its first weeks were also slugglish, with a low number of daily inoculations. It was not before mid-May and the end of the Golden Week that Japan caught up and exceeded a country like France regarding the average daily number of shots. However, Japan’s population is twice France’s, which means the country still vaccinates less than France by mid-June all other things equal.

Yet, vaccination is the key to reopening the borders, as shown by:

  • The authorization granted to Europeans for traveling within Schengen area this summer,
  • The authorization for vaccinated United States citizens to travel to France without quarantine since June 9.

On the same day, Japanese Prime Minister Suga announced the objective of completing the population’s vaccination by "October or November at the latest". But no detail was given on how to reach this goal, which suggests a randomly set timeline, all the more as Japanese parliamentary elections will take place (what a coincidence!) before October 22.

Japan’s herd immunity date calculator

At Kanpai, like most of our readers, we are eagerly waiting for the reopening of Japanese borders to international tourism. That is why we have imagined and developed an app to check in real time, with verified data, the date of actually reaching the herd immunity in Japan. Here's a first glimpse with the table below:

million inhabitants
million (not including children under 12 years old)
million first inoculations
million second inoculations
million third inoculations
(As of 09/05)
have received the 1rst dose
have received the 2nd dose
have received the 3rd dose
Rate of population to vaccinate (3 doses)
3rd Dose Daily Rollout
January 24, 2025
In 185 days.
(Projection based on the available data

Calculation methodology of our app

Calculations are based on several variables :

  1. The population to be vaccinated (data provided by the Japanese government’s statistics), with the exception of children under 12 years old who are not in the scope of vaccination.
  2. The doses already inoculated (data provided by Nihon Keizai Shinbun, a big economic newspaper), updated daily.
  3. The percentage of vaccinated people, who were administered one or both doses: at the moment only Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (which require 2 shots contrary to other vaccines) are used in Japan. The calculation is based on the data mentioned above.
  4. The rate of population to vaccinate: three choices are available, between 60, 70 or 80 % of individuals aged 12 years and older, according to the various definitions of how the herd immunity is achieved (and knowing that according to the last surveys, about 2/3 of the Japanese population wants to be vaccinated).
  5. The daily inoculations, according to 3 variables : the current vaccination rollout (Nikkei’s average on the last 7 days), the government’s goal of 1 million per day and a median number between these 2 variables (that we will delete when the actual curb draws near this objective).
  6. Lastly, the expected herd immunity date according to all the elements above : the permanent data (population), the data updated daily (inoculated doses) and the variables you selected (population to vaccinate and daily inoculations).

Note that 2 additional weeks are necessary after the last shot of vaccination for the immune system to produce enough antibodies and reach an optimal vaccine protection according to scientists and tlaboratories. Consequently, the reopening of the borders is likely to happen shortly after the date provided by our app!

Kanpai’s advice in anticipation of tourism resuming

We recommend to bookmark this page and check it frequently to follow the evolution of the herd immunity timeline, as the date will gain precision over time with the horizon drawing near.

Additionally, if you don't want to miss the announcement of the borders' reopening, make sure to subscribe for free to Kanpai’s Newsletter and get information on real time:

Lastly, based on the elements we explained above, it is still relevant to start planning concretely now, and even booking as early as possible a trip to Japan in 2022. Indeed, prices for next year are still attractive, but as soon as a reopening date is released by the Japanese government, it is likely that many companies (especially airlines and in the hospitality industry) highly raise their tariffs to face the boom in demands.