Japan to accept foreign tourists for first time since 2020

Japan to accept foreign tourists for first time since 2020

A family is reunited for the first time in about 10 months at Narita Airport on March 1. As ahi Shimbun file photo Japan will allow foreign tourists to enter the country for the first time since early 2020, when the border was closed to such travelers to prevent novel coronaviruses infections.

Small group tours will be allowed into Japan from four countries, including the United States, Australia, Thailand and Singapore on a trial basis.

Tourism Minister Tetsuo Saito said at a news conference on May 17 that we will move forward with the plan, while trying to achieve a balance between socio-economic activities and anti-coronaviruses measures.

The four countries are not on the Japanese government's list for tighter border control against novel coronaviruses variants. The infection situations in those countries have stabilized, according to the government.

The entering tourists must be triple vaccinated and will be accompanied by tour conductors from travel agencies.

The tour destinations in Japan will only be limited to areas where local governments have given the green light.

After examining the effectiveness of anti-infection measures in the trial run and the responses to cases in which tour participants become infected, the central government will draw up guidelines for travel agencies and accommodation facilities.

If the government decides that tours can be conducted without spreading infections, it will consider accepting more tourists.

Japan has allowed a limited number of business visitors and foreign students to enter the country since March.

Since the government recently decided to relax border controls, the travel industry and airline companies have been calling for the government to accept foreign tourists.

The daily entry cap is going to be doubled from June to 20,000.

With careful assessments of the infection situation after the Golden Week holidays, we would like to allow smooth entry into Japan as in other G -- 7 nations, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters on May 16.