The Japan reopened its borders to foreign tourists on package tours for the first time in two years today, though this was only on paper as the first arrivals are expected only next week due to administrative procedures.
The government is now accepting registrations by travel agents through a new portal, where they must enter information of tour participants including passport numbers and accommodation details so as to apply for tourist visas.
The Japan Tourism Agency said it can take at least five working days for these visas to be approved.
On Friday, Japan’s top business lobby and chambers of commerce issued a joint statement urging a further easing of border measures “to facilitate an environment where people, goods, money and digital technologies can move freely”.
Tourism Minister Tetsuo Saito said: “We will make efforts to restore tourism demand by balancing anti-virus measures and socio-economic activities.”
He added that the first tour group arrivals will be next week at the earliest.
From this month, travellers from 98 countries and regions – including the United States, China, South Korea and Singapore – can enter Japan without quarantine regardless of their vaccination status, so long as they produce a negative pre-departure polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. (Source: The Straits Times)