Japan to drop visitor limits in October and bring back visa-free entry for countries including Singapore: Reports
Good news for those fancying a visit to Japan since its borders closed in 2020 – it might finally be reopening soon.
Before the end of the year, Japan is expected to lift its ban on tourist visits without prior reservation through a travel agency, as well as limits on the number of daily arrivals.
According to a Nikkei report, Prime Minister (PM) Fumio Kishida will announce the move “in the coming days”. The changes will likely take effect in October.
Japan to resume visa-free travel, lower daily visitor limit
The easing of restrictions would depend on the Covid-19 situation in Japan. From 14 Sep, there were 100,277 new cases. However, the numbers have been steadily falling since a peak last month of more than 200,000 new cases per day.
If the changes continue, Japan will allow short-term travelers from certain countries to enter visa-free.
Straits Time (ST) reports that Singapore will be one of those countries.
During the pandemic, Japan imposed a ban on all foreigners and required an entry visa.
In March this year, they started welcoming tourists, but only on guided tours.
Japan welcomes tourists from S’pore, vaccinated travelers must join small organized tours
Although other countries, including Singapore and South Korea, have opened their borders, Prime Minister Kishida had chosen to open more slowly.
Earlier this month the requirement to travel on a guided tour was lifted and the daily visitor limit was increased from 20,000 to 50,000.
Japan allows unguided tours from September 7, lowering barriers for S’pore tourists
However, at the time of writing, a visa is still required and tourists should still book a tour through a travel agent, although they can be self-sufficient.
These are still higher barriers to entry than in many parts of the world.
Need to revive the economy
Prime Minister Kishida has stressed in recent days the need to revive the Japanese economy as the yen has weakened significantly.
Speaking at a Government Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, Nikkei quoted him as saying: “It is important for us to work to strengthen Japan’s earning power, taking advantage of the current weak yen.”
As travelers around the world clamor to visit, it is hoped tourists will help bolster the yen as Japan reopens.
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Selected image adapted from Jérémy Stenuit on Unsplash.