Tokyo, June 10 (EFE).- Japan formally reopened to tourism Friday after prohibiting the entry of non-residents and family members for more than two years of the pandemic, in an attempt to revive its battered tourism industry.
Entry will initially be restricted to tourists on guided tours from 98 countries classified by the Japanese authorities as having a low risk of infection, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, South Korea and China.
The effective reopening to tourism comes into force after June 1 when Japan doubled the cap on authorized daily arrivals to 20,000 people, and implemented a relaxation of its border controls that exempt most arrivals from undergoing PCR tests and quarantine periods.
The Japanese government has drawn up guidelines for tourists, which include buying medical insurance, wearing a mask at all times and frequently disinfecting hands.
The travel agencies will be in charge of processing tourist visas and act as guarantors. They will keep a record of the sightseeing routes, including places visited and where people sat on public transport, in case of possible contingencies.
In the event that a person in the group tests positive for Covid-19, they will be transferred to a medical center.
Despite the formal reopening of tourism, it is foreseeable that Japan will take some time to open its borders to individual tourists and the free movement of passengers, as the government maintains a strict position for fear of a resurgence of infections.
Japan had aimed to attract some 40 million visitors by 2020, when the Tokyo Olympics were originally to be held, but were postponed for a year due to the pandemic.
The country received 4.1 million visitors in 2020, compared to more than 31.8 million a year earlier, according to data published by the Japan National Tourism Office.
In 2021, the number of foreigners who arrived in the country, and who were presumably residents or new residents, since in principle they were the only ones allowed to enter at that time, was 245,862 people. EFE