Japan has announced that it will lift tough Covid restrictions on foreign tourists, reopening the borders after two and a half years.
Speaking at the New York Stock Exchange, PM Fumio Kishida said the pandemic had interrupted the free flow of people, goods, and capital. He said Japan will relax border control measures and resume visa-free travel and individual travel from October 11.
For the first time in about two and a half years, Japan sets out border rules which are close to pre-pandemic norms. In an effort to control the spread of COVID-19, Japan currently only allows package tours and requires visas for all visitors along with a cap of 50,000 on daily arrivals.
However, because of these curbs, Japan’s economy is unable to be fully reopened to tourists. Now, starting October 11, short-term visitors will no longer be required to apply for tourist visas.
Earlier, 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 US, and with no need to book tours through travel agencies.