Japan to remove entry cap in ‘not-too-distant future’, official says

Japan is reviewing its border control policy of keeping daily entries below 50,000 and will scrap it in “the not-too-distant future”, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

The government will simultaneously ease other restrictions, including visa requirements and travel package requirements when it completely lifts the daily cap on arrivals abroad, the secretary said in Deputy Chief of Staff Seiji Kihara on a Fuji Television show.

The country’s strict COVID-19 border controls have been gradually eased but have been in place for more than two years. Most recently, the daily entry cap was raised to 50,000 from 20,000 and incoming tourists were allowed to travel without a guide.

“We are going to review (the restrictions) completely. We have to do that in the not so distant future,” he said.

People arrive at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on September 7, 2022. (Kyodo)

“Japan has seasonal attractions in fall and winter. We know there are a lot of people overseas who want to come to Japan.”

Japan should not lag further behind in attracting foreign tourists, especially at a time when Japan’s weak currency makes the country an attractive destination, he added.

The entry cap had been raised in stages since March to reach 20,000 in June, although all foreign tourists to Japan were still required to obtain visas and asked to wear face masks while traveling.

In 2021, only 245,900 overseas visitors came to Japan, the lowest figure since comparable data became available in 1964, dealing a blow to the country’s travel industry which had been boosted by tourist demand. incoming before the start of the pandemic in early 2020.