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Friday, March 31, 2023

Japan to Open Its Borders to Foreign Tourists after Pandemic Restrictions 

Tourists will now be able to visit the country without a visa permit

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JAPAN: Japan is all set to reopen its borders to foreign tourists, nearly after a two-year gap due to severe pandemic restrictions. Tourists will now be able to visit the country without a visa permit and no longer need to go through a travel agency, functional from 11 October.

A previous cap that had been placed on daily arrivals will also be lifted to allow the free flow of tourists who have been unable to visit the beautiful country due to strict COVID-19 bans.

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However, visitors will undoubtedly require to produce their triple vaccination certificates or submit a negative COVID-19 test result to the concerned authorities before setting foot into the country.

The anticipated influx of travellers will be a welcome boost to the government and several local businesses, which are currently reeling under pressure from the business vacuum. It comes as the Japanese yen plummets to its slowest point against the US dollar in six months.

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“Japan will relax border control measures to be on par with the US,” said Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The country has allowed the entry of visitors since June, but they had to be part of tours.

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To bolster tourist income, Mr Kishida also announced a domestic travel incentive scheme that will give discounts on travel, theme park prices, sporting events, and concerts. Japanese residents and citizens will be eligible for an 11,000 yen (£69; $77) subsidy.

Similar programs have been launched in other countries reopening to foreign tourists after a gap period to boost income and encourage locales to spend and stimulate the economy. However, like elsewhere, the rising living costs have constantly threatened locals.

The world’s third-largest economy was one of the last Asian powerhouses to keep its borders barred due to COVID-19 health concerns.

The COVID-19 restrictions set in place in the country were harsher than most, even though its mortality rate was one of the lowest as a result of high rates of vaccination.

Japan also never mandated lockdowns or mask-wearing, but many locals readily adopted protections.

Japan saw nearly 32 million foreigners visit in 2019, the last year before the pandemic. Moreover, the restrictions on travellers in recent months had precluded many foreigners from visiting, reports showed.

Also Read: Typhoon Batters Japan with Record Rain, Wipes out Power

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