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Japan Gov't Plans to Further Ease Entry Restrictions for Tourists as Early as October

posted on by Adriana Hazra
Gov't plans to resume short-term visa exemptions for tourists from 70 countries

The NHK and Nikkei Asia websites reported last week that the Japanese government is planning on further easing anti-infection border controls and allowing tourists to enter Japan without "sponsors" or a travel agency contact within the country. The government also plans to resume short-term visa exemptions for tourists from 70 countries, and also plans to remove the daily entry cap. NHK stated these changes could take effect as early as October.

The Japanese government raised the maximum daily number of allowed entries into the country to 50,000 on September 7. The government also began accepting tourists without in-person guides. A tourism ministry official, nevertheless, stated at that time that tourists will still require "sponsors" or a travel agency contact in Japan in order to be permitted into the country.

The government also waived the requirement for travelers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test if they have received at least three COVID-19 vaccine shots (including one booster).

Japan began easing its COVID-19 entry restrictions for foreign students and business travelers (if they have sponsors) on March 1. In addition, the government increased the number of people (Japanese and foreign nationals combined) who are allowed to enter from 3,500 to 5,000 daily, and shortened the COVID-19 quarantine period from seven to three days. The government then raised the daily cap to 7,000 on March 14, and again to 10,000 on April 10.

The government then opened tourism to guided tour groups exclusively on June 10, and raised the daily maximum allowed entries into the country from 10,000 to 20,000 people.

The border control measure that started last November was in response to the global spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The Japanese government had also extended the border restrictions to February, setting a ban on new foreign entrants, in order to curb the spread.

Japan banned entry to all foreign tourists early in the pandemic in 2020.

Update: NHK World Japan's link fixed. Thanks, ravager and Joe Mello.

Sources: Nikkei Asia (Hiroyuki Akiyama), NHK World Japan

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