Japan to Lift Strict Border Restrictions for International Travelers

Japan to Lift Strict Border Restrictions for International Travelers

Enoshima Yacht Harbour (photo by Toshiko Sakurai)

Japan’s Prime Minister announced the country would lift its strict border restrictions and make it easier for travelers to visit on leisure trips.

According to The Associated Press, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida revealed during a visit to New York that independent tourists would be welcomed again, starting on October 11.

Kishida said the previous caps on the number of travelers would be lifted and visa requirements imposed during the coronavirus pandemic would be rescinded. He also stated Japan would launch a campaign to bolster the country’s tourism industry, including discounts for travelers.

“We hope that many citizens will take advantage,” Kishida said.

To visit Japan under the existing rules, international travelers must register with licensed travel agencies before applying for a visa at embassies and consulates, a process that can reportedly “take months,” according to Reuters.

In September, government officials in Japan revealed that limits on inbound travelers were lifted from 20,000 per day to 50,000, and pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements were scrapped for tourists and returning residents.

The island nation reopened to tourists in June for the first time in two years, but only around 8,000 people have arrived through July. The country averaged more than 80,000 visitors per day before the pandemic.

As Japan continues to relax COVID-19 entry policies, the Japan National Tourism Organization is promoting more sustainable destinations, experiences and accommodations with a new brochure featuring sustainable travel offerings across the nation.

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