Japan reopens to tourists in hopes of revitalizing economy

Tokyo, Oct 11 (EFE).- Japan on Monday reopened to foreign tourists after almost three years by eliminating its daily entry quota and resuming its bilateral short-stay visa waiver agreements in hopes of revitalizing its economy.


The country maintained the hardest border restrictions among the G7 powers and some of the most severe among the major world powers (not counting China), which had been slowing down the post-Covid recovery of tourism and its economy.

(Camera: EPA-EFE/FRANCK ROBICHON).


Among the measures removed Tuesday was the daily entry cap of 50,000 people and the requirement to travel as part of a package tour.


Visas for stays of up to 90 days are also no longer mandatory under the visa waiver agreements that Japan has with a total of 68 countries.


These visa waivers were suspended with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and until Tuesday it was essential to apply for a visa for any visit to the country.


Travelers from countries that do not have a bilateral agreement in this regard must adhere to the requirements that existed before the pandemic.

A staff member takes pictures of a board displaying flight arrivals at Haneda airport’s international flights terminal in Tokyo, Japan, 10 June 2022. EPA-EFE FILE/Franck Robichon


As for immigration controls, Japan has simplified them. Those who have received three doses of any of the Covid-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization will not have to take a test within 72 hours before boarding, something that will be necessary for those who have not.


Those who have the required vaccination or a negative test certificate issued during the three days prior to their arrival in the country will not have to undergo a test upon arrival or be quarantined, measures that are maintained for specific cases.


All travelers arriving in the country will have to fill out a Covid-19 questionnaire prior to disembarkation and download the MySOS application.


Meanwhile, the Japanese authorities have expressed hope that the weakening yen will contribute positively to the tourist reopening and help the economy recover.


The relaxation of border controls is “meant to further facilitate international exchanges between our country and overseas while taking advantage of a weak yen, and it is beneficial for Japan’s socioeconomic activities,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference.


Matsuno said the measures are aimed at reviving tourism, both domestic and international, and they hoped it would help revive demand, hit by the pandemic, and “revitalize” regional areas. EFE
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