Tokyo, Oct 3 (EFE).- The Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, on Monday backed reviving the country’s ailing tourism industry by reopening borders at a time when the yen is weak, and also advocated investing in human resources in areas that have a potential for development.
The rapid depreciation of the yen, which dropped to 145 units per dollar on Monday – its lowest exchange rate in 24 years – has led to Japanese imports becoming more expensive.
However, the prime minister expressed his willingness to adopt “unprecedented” measures to ease the impact of yen’s devaluation and take advantage of the trend for tourism.
Japan is set to lift its main border restrictions from 11 October – after restricting tourism for more than two years as part of measures taken during the covid pandemic – and hopes that this will serve as an incentive for tourists to visit and consume more in the archipelago.
The Japanese government hopes that the easing of rules will not only help revive tourism but also aid in achieving the new goal of increasing foreign tourists’ total spending to “more than 5 trillion yen ($35 billion) annually,” Kishida said in the opening speech of an extraordinary session of the Japanese parliament.
Tourism was a key factor in Japan’s economic growth before the pandemic. In 2019, consumption connected to tourism stood at a record 4.8 trillion yen, while in 2021 it had dropped to a meager 120 billion yen.
“We will make every effort to combat price hikes and will definitely restore the economy,” added Kishida, who said he plans to boost salary hikes by investing one trillion yen over a period of five years and to take measures to support education in areas with growth potential, without specifying further.
The extraordinary parliamentary session began on the eve of Kishida’s first year as prime minister, at a time when his public approval ratings have dropped sharply due to the unpopular decision to celebrate ex Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s state funeral and over his party’s links with the Unification Church. EFE