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Japan to Allow Visa-Free Individual Tourists to Return from October 11

Image Credit: CNN
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Japan will soon reopen to individual travellers and will also remove all caps on visitation numbers.

According to reports from Bloomberg and CNN, Japan will abolish a slew of Covid-19 border controls from October 11, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in New York, in a move that looks set to revive the tourism industry.

Individual visitors will be allowed to enter, and Japan will reinstate visa waivers, Mr Kishida said at a press conference on Thursday (September 22) in New York. The cap on daily arrivals in Japan will also end, he said.

Japan’s move to scrap most restrictions on foreign tourists comes as the country’s deadliest wave of the pandemic recedes. It also coincides with the yen slumping to its lowest levels against the dollar in almost a quarter of a century, making the archipelago an inexpensive, attractive destination for visitors from overseas.

Discounts for domestic travel will be introduced at the same time, Kishida added.

After seeing a tourism boom before the pandemic, airlines, hotels, and retailers are all understandably seeking to regain the business they lost.

Japan says, “Welcome back!” | Image Credit: Getty Images

Kishida’s cautious attitude to opening up after the first waves of the pandemic won him plaudits from voters still nervous about infections, while business leaders have complained about damage to the economy and urged him to fling the doors open.

Prior to Covid-19, Japan allowed visitors from 68 countries and regions, including the United States and Singapore, to stay for as long as 90 days without a visa. Visitor numbers reached a record of almost 32 million in 2019, slumping to about 246,000 last year.

Face masks are no longer compulsory in Japan, but much like here in Malaysia, they still remain widely used in public spaces.

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