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Japan continues to soften COVID-19 border controls for tourism

Japan continues to soften COVID-19 border controls for tourism

As part of efforts to ease strict COVID-19 restrictions, Japan on Wednesday significantly loosened border procedures for tourists and authorized admission of visitors without a guide beginning the following week.
According to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the government also plans to allow daily 50,000 people entry from Sept. 7, a significant raise from the current 20,000 per day.

“To make the entry of people as smooth as other Group of Seven nations, we will further ease our border control measures by taking into account the infection situation at home and abroad, the needs (of travelers) and border measures taken by other nations,” Kyodo News Agency quoted Kishida as saying.

“We have seen international exchanges gaining traction in various parts of the world. We are raising the daily cap on new arrivals to 50,000 from Sept. 7 to join the trend and make sure the benefits of the weak yen are felt,” the prime minister said.

After a two-year closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan reopened its international borders to tourists in June and resumed issuing tourist visas for guided tours to 98 countries and regions, including the US, UK, China, South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Japan gradually eased COVID-19 restrictions for international travelers this March, when it opened its borders for businesspeople, students, and Japanese citizens.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, which began in China in late 2019 but reached most countries early the next year, Japan had set a target of 40 million foreign visitors for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games which were later postponed until 2021.