Japan will relax its COVID-19 border controls and allow visa-free travel starting next month.
The rules will be modified as of October 11th to encourage a revival in the country’s tourist sector.
The current cap on daily arrivals at 50,000 and the requirement that package tours be followed will also be removed.
Japan has imposed some of the most stringent border controls in the world ever since the pandemic. It blocked entry for over two years, before gradually opening up to the public in June.
Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister, made the announcement. He said, “We are a nation which has prospered through free flow of people and goods.
COVID-19 has, of course, revoked all these benefits. However, Japan will ease border controls to be on par US from October 11th and resume visa-free travel as well as individual travel.
He had pledged in May that his country would improve its border controls to be more comparable with those of other G7 countries, like France, Canada, and the UK.
Japan had agreements for visa waivers with almost 70 countries and regions prior to the pandemic.
The new rules will allow people from certain countries to travel to Japan with no visa if they are immunized.
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Mr Kishida could also change regulations for hotels to allow them to refuse guests who do not adhere to infection control measures, such as wearing masks during an outbreak.
The changes are expected to have a significant effect on the economy. Business and travel companies warned that the country could be left behind by the strict rules.
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Japan’s currency fell below the crucial level of 145yen to the US dollar on Thursday. This makes foreign travel and purchases in Japan the most affordable in decades.
In June, allowed tourists into the country for the first time since 2012. However, only about 8,000 visitors arrived in July, as compared to more than 80,000 visitors per day prior to the pandemic.