Japan raises daily arrivals cap, relaxes tourist restrictions
Tokyo, Sep 7 (EFE).- Japan raised its daily arrivals entry cap on Wednesday to 50,000 and allowed foreign tourists in without the need for a tour guide to encourage its still-restricted international tourism.
Government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told a press conference that with the new measure, the government hopes Japan can participate in international exchanges and it continues to seek a balance between Covid-19 prevention measures and socio-economic activity.
Matsuno also stated that the government will adapt the measures according to the situation of infections abroad and domestically, as well as the provisions taken in other countries that maintain close ties with the archipelago.
Since June, Japan has allowed the arrival of foreign tourists in group trips organized and supervised by a tour guide within the framework of its 20,000 authorized daily entries, but from now on it will not be necessary to be accompanied by a guide or book a specific tour, although it will be necessary to present a travel plan in advance.
A mediating travel agency will continue to be necessary to manage the visit and obtain a document necessary for processing the visa, although it has not been specified what specific criteria will determine the viability of this type of tourism.
Also starting Wednesday, people with at least three vaccine doses will not have to present a negative PCR test carried out in the 72 hours prior to embarking for Japan.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the previous day that he will also shorten the isolation period for Covid-19 patients to seven days from the current 10, starting from the day the person is symptomatic.
As a result of the pandemic, Japan suspended its visa exemption for short-term visits (up to three months) that it maintained with 68 countries, and since then it has been necessary to obtain a visa to enter the country, including for tourism purposes.
Japan’s strict border measures are the main factor deterring tourists from traveling to the archipelago. In 2019 Japan received 31.9 million tourists. In 2021, the number was 246,000 people, according to data from the National Tourism Office). EFE