On Thursday, September 22, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that Japan would ease some of the COVID-19 border control system conditions in the following month. This is an important step in reviving Japan’s tourist industry, which is anxious to capitalize on the yen’s drop to a 24-year low. Kishida made the announcement.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Japan has maintained some of the most stringent border measures among major economies. The country closed its borders to tourists for two years until June of this year, when they slowly started to open again.
Kishida announced during a speech at the New York Stock Exchange. This follows a pledge that Kishida made back in May, in which he stated that Japan would bring its border controls closer to those of the other Group of Seven nations.
Kishida made this statement on Thursday. “We are a nation that has flourished through the free flow of people, goods, and capital,” he said.
“Of course, COVID-19 put a stop to all of these benefits, but as of October 11, Japan will resume visa-free travel and individual travel,” he said. “Japan will also relax border control measures to be on par with the US.”
Japan requires visitors to obtain visas before entering the country and participate in prearranged tour packages, which is a major source of contention. Before the epidemic, Japan had agreements with about seventy countries and territories that let people visit without a visa. This included the United States, the European Union, and many of its Asian neighbors.
Business lobbying groups and travel companies have pushed Japan to loosen its border controls more quickly. They say that the country’s current policies aren’t in line with those of its most important trading partners and could cause it to fall economically behind.
Shinichi Inoue, president of All Nippon Airways, the core unit of ANA Holdings 9202.T, told reporters on Friday, September 23, “We will see a significant impact on the economy.” He also mentioned that the yen’s sharp decline against the dollar is a “huge attraction” for individuals from other countries.
On Thursday, the value of one dollar in terms of the Japanese yen dropped below the psychologically significant level of 145 yen. As a result, international travel and shopping in Japan are currently at their most affordable levels in more than three decades.
As of October 11, people from certain countries can travel to Japan without a visa or for tourism as long as they are updated on their shots.
In addition, it may change rules on hotels to allow them to turn away visitors who do not follow infection control measures during an outbreak, such as wearing a mask, by doing away with a daily arrivals quota that is presently set at 50 000 according to reports in domestic media. The daily cap on arrivals is currently set at 50,000.
Fuji News Network reported on Wednesday that the Japanese government is mulling over whether or not to give hotels the authority to bar admission to customers during an epidemic if they are not wearing masks and taking other precautions to prevent the spread of sickness.
According to the network, the administration will present a bill to an emergency session of parliament the next month that would change the legislation controlling hotels and inns, giving them additional authority to enforce infection precautions. The government announced this.
According to a report by Nikkei on Thursday, Japan is planning to abolish a limit on the number of tourists who may arrive in the country each day beginning in October and would also relax its visa requirements for some visitors.
As a result of the modification, Japan will no longer require visas for visitors coming from the United States and certain other countries who are just staying in the country for a short period, and it will remove the daily admission cap of 50,000 individuals.
Despite Japan’s official reopening of its borders to tourists in June, only about 8,000 visitors had arrived by the end of July. This contrasts with more than 80,000 people visiting each day before the pandemic.