Japan to Allow Visa-Free Individual Tourists from Oct 11
Kishida announces full reopening as weak yen gives visitors extra incentive
TOKYO — Japan will resume visa-free entry for individual travelers on Oct. 11, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Thursday in New York, bringing its border rules close to pre-pandemic norms for the first time in about two and a half years.
“We will remove the cap on the number of people entering the country, and will resume accepting individual travel and visa-free travel,” Kishida said.
At present Japan only allows package tours, and requires visas for all visitors, in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. Daily arrivals have been capped at 50,000. But this has made the country more and more of an outlier, as most other economies have fully reopened to tourists.
Starting on Oct. 11, short-term visitors will no longer be required to apply for tourist visas. Before the pandemic, Japan allowed visa-free short-term travel from people from 68 countries and regions, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and the U.S. And with no need to book tours through travel agencies, it will be easier to visit.
The Japanese government hopes to boost the economy through inbound tourism, taking advantage of the weak yen. The currency is hovering around 24-year lows, touching 145 per dollar at one point, which makes Japan a more attractive destination for international travelers.
Before COVID-19, Japan accepted a record 31.8 million visitors in 2019, making it one of the most popular destinations in Asia.
Thanks to its cultural resources and airport infrastructure, Japan ranked No. 1 on the World Economic Forum’s latest Travel & Tourism Development Index, released in May.
Source: Nikkei Asia