People stroll near Kiyomizu-dera temple, a popular attraction among tourists, in Kyoto, in late June. Photo: REUTERS/Satoshi Sugiyama
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Hopes grow for win-win effect of inbound tourism in Japan, weak yen

67 Comments
By Noriyuki Suzuki

Japanese policymakers expect that a further reopening of Japan's borders to foreign visitors will breathe life into inbound tourism that had been hit by COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The hope is that a weaker yen will be an additional boost, providing a win-win situation for foreign tourists, who would be compelled to splurge by taking advantage of the currency effect, and for Japan, where the negative side of the yen's slide, especially against the U.S. dollar, has become all the more visible.

Japan has raised its daily entry cap on arrivals to 50,000 from 20,000 in early September and has begun accepting foreign travelers on tours without a guide in a further relaxing, albeit at a gradual pace, of its COVID-19 border control steps criticized as being too stringent.

Facing growing calls for more easing, on par with other Group of Seven advanced economies, the government is considering eliminating the daily entry cap even as the number of new coronavirus cases remains high.

The coronavirus pandemic has hampered Japan's efforts to boost inbound tourism as an engine of economic growth, and it remains uncertain how quickly foreign tourists will return. Japan ranked first as the best travel destination in the travel and tourism development index by the World Economic Forum in 2021, despite the country being closed to foreign tourists.

If more restrictions are removed, including those on individual and spontaneous trips, as well as the daily entry cap on arrivals, Japan is expected to see spending by inbound tourists recover to about 2.5 trillion yen in a year, or around half of the pre-pandemic level in 2019, according to economists at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

That is partly because a weaker yen makes traveling overseas to Japan cheaper and boosts the appetite for spending. Given the Japanese currency is trading past 140 versus the U.S. dollar, a traveler is estimated to spend around 190,000 yen for a trip, up roughly 20 percent from approximately 160,000 yen in pre-pandemic 2019 when the currency was around 109.

"Past data show when the yen weakens, foreign tourists tend to step up spending during their stay in Japan on cosmetics, souvenirs and other items," said Naoto Sekiguchi, a junior economist at SMBC Nikko Securities.

Still, the recovery in the number of inbound tourists is expected to be slow, given that it will likely take longer for those from China to return due to strict antivirus restrictions by Beijing, which has a "zero-COVID" policy, industry watchers say.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the wind was apparently blowing in Japan's favor. A record 31.9 million tourists visited Japan in 2019, with over 2 million visitors a month. The monthly figure for July this year was 144,500, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

As more Japanese consumers are feeling the pinch of accelerating inflation, growing criticism that the weak yen is the culprit is something unwanted for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

He has thrown his support behind the Bank of Japan's efforts to maintain an ultralow rate policy and achieve its 2 percent inflation target.

"It's important to bolster our earning power by promoting farm exports and inbound tourism...to enjoy the merits of the weaker yen," Kishida told a government panel meeting on Wednesday.

The Japan Association of Corporate Executives urges the government to resume accepting individual travel and allowing visa-free short-term visits while scrapping the entry cap.

"It will become difficult to capture inbound demand this winter, and only the negative impact of the weaker yen on the economy will stand out" unless the travel restrictions are removed, the group said, adding that a recovery in international travel is far slower than in other G-7 nations.

The yen fell close to the psychologically important 145 line on Wednesday, which apparently raised the alert level among Japanese monetary authorities and prompted stepped-up warnings of direct intervention to avert a further slide.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates further to curb soaring inflation, while the Bank of Japan is unlikely to budge.

Policy options for the government seem increasingly limited to directly address the yen's falling trend as the dollar has been gaining strength broadly against other currencies, too.

Many market players believe direct intervention by Japanese authorities to buy the yen for the dollar would still be improbable and ineffective.

Under such circumstances, a revival in inbound tourism would help improve the current account balance and affect the dollar-yen pair because demand for yen-buying will increase, economists say.

If the travel surplus -- meaning the amount of money spent by foreign travelers in Japan was larger than that spent by Japanese overseas -- recovers to a pre-pandemic level of about 3 trillion yen a year, it would have the effect of lowering the dollar-yen pair by roughly 2 yen, according to economists at Daiwa Securities Co.

"It may be smaller than the roughly 30 yen (gain of the dollar) seen so far this year, but inbound tourism will still have a certain impact on the dollar-yen," said Toru Suehiro, a senior economist at Daiwa Securities.

"The dollar has been bought, not just against the yen but other currencies as well. The main reason is widening interest rate differentials, but it also reflects the strength of the U.S. economy," Suehiro said. "If the Japanese economy can draw strength from inbound tourism, it would also help ease some yen-selling pressure."

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67 Comments
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Those tourists won't wore mask for obvious reason. Japan will shock about this.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/super-bowl/2022/02/14/maskless-super-bowl-56-celebrities/6781502001/

-13 ( +11 / -24 )

Masks will still be a significant deterrent to inbound tourism.

-2 ( +19 / -21 )

"Win-win"?

overcrowded destinations and public transport, continuing to ignore the critical issue of rising global emissions - when urgently and drastically need to be reduced.

-17 ( +7 / -24 )

I have always reminded myself that the Yen has been over valued for the last decade. I can not see the Yen reaching the mark of 105. At best in the next decade that will be lower like 120 yen to the USD. At the moment JOB will not move on lifting the rate so The Yen will weaken again next month when the USA rise their rates again and my estimated is 150 yen to $1 USD.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Mask ? Will it also be the jgovs fault that itnl airfares are 3-4 x higher than they were just a year ago ?

12 ( +19 / -7 )

Tourists don't want to visit Japan anymore.

For obvious reason

And all the cigarette smoke is truly disgusting

-21 ( +18 / -39 )

I DOUBT doubt it, Japan just can't do anything the simple way.

A friend of mine just returned from a Vacation in Hawaii and she told me that upon her return at Narita she was stopped and asked if she has a QR code for Quarantine and of course she did not and no body said anything about it when leaving Japan nor did Hawaiian airlines website mention anything about it, she only had her Vaccination Certificates. which was checked twice upon leaving Japan to H0awaii, and at Honolulu airport upon returning to Japan.

so she was told to go to a separate section were she was held for 28 minutes filling out an application on line to get a QR code, then they checked it. then she has to move to the next station where they checked the very same QR code that she just received on her smart phone, then she was given a blue and a white papers to show to customs, then immigration, then she has to run to collected her bags hopping to catch her train, , by the time she was finished she was was late and missed her Narita express and connecting shinkansen of course was delayed by 2 hours in total.

15 ( +27 / -12 )

Awa no gaijin:

What cigarette smoke?

I don't know where you are in Japan, but it's quite rare to see someone with a cigarette where I am.

1 ( +19 / -18 )

Masks will still be a significant deterrent to inbound tourism.

Those I've seen here already (on some sort of visa) aren't wearing masks.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

The hope is that a weaker yen will be an additional boost, providing a win-win situation for foreign tourists, who would be compelled to splurge by taking advantage of the currency effect, and for Japan, where the negative side of the yen's slide, especially against the U.S. dollar, has become all the more visible.

A win for foreign tourists with strong currencies with leisure time.

A win for the capital holding rentier owners of Japanese inns, hotels, travel related businesses.

A lose for the laid off travel and hospitality industry workers.

Who did not benefit from coronavirus stimulus subsidies and many of whom were forced to retrain, change industries or engage in a severe downgrade of their lifestyle.

Discarded by LDP policies

7 ( +10 / -3 )

If you are about to come to Japan or even thinking about leaving Japan then returning, better get your health Ministry QR code installed on your smart phone, and if you AINT got a smart phone better get one or check with the health ministry.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

and allowing visa-free short-term visits

This is a big point.

Japan must go back to the 90 days visa free stay.

Most of my friends and business partner overseas said that the necessary visa is the most troublesome point, and therefore they don't want to visit Japan.

*
20 ( +23 / -3 )

The yen fell close to the psychologically important 145 line on Wednesday,

Seems to me this "line" has shifted quite a bit over the past few decades. When it was around 100 yen to the dollar, the same thing was said, then 110, then 120, and now as it sped downward to around 145.

I also seem to recall the same things were said when it was on it's way up as well. Starting at around 200 or so back in the day. Things got really "psychologically scary" when it dropped under 80 yen to the dollar too.

Whomever comes up with this "psychologically important line" should really just stop!

14 ( +15 / -1 )

What they "save" on meals and souvenirs the tourist will pay on air fares. Win win?

10 ( +17 / -7 )

Weak yen is great, but most people dont want to come here on a tour. They need to just open the borders instead of just talking about half measures.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

We are not on the main overseas tourist trail, but we did get coach trips from the cruise ships. Local news interviewed a couple of people involved in the tourist industry and they are looking forward to the return of Chinese and Korean tourist. For them it was quiet simple, they spend the most money. So even if Japan opens fully tomorrow, it could be a slow recover.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@Mark

Yes, the scientific term for what has happened to your friend is: a "mistake".

Neither Japan's emigration booth nor the airlines are responsible for informing anyone about Japan's current immigration regulations. Your friend didn't invest three minutes to look up current regulations on any of the official governmental sites. Consequently she did not know about the "fast track" and only qualified for the "slow track".

Everyone is always going on and on about the return to a self-determined life, but is quick to put the blame at the government when their self-determination fails them.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Mark

Today 07:33 am JST

I guess only the USA counts as a comparison.

You should check out other countries not just Japan vs USA.

Try going to Canada or returning.

Makes the Japanese process look simple and if you didn't get the needed stuff before you cannot do it on arrival meaning welcome to quarantine or a massive fine.

At least Japan let's your friend do the needed process once here, places like Canada and others it is do it before or you are out of luck.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Tourists will do what??? buy mask??

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

Neither Japan's emigration booth nor the airlines are responsible for informing anyone about Japan's current immigration regulations

Neither is "emigration" responsible either. BUT the airlines, responsible or otherwise, should be informing their passengers about any requirements to fly to Japan, PRIOR to boarding! Just as they check to ensure you have proper documentation.

Immigration can be a pain anywhere in the world!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Mr Kipling

Today 07:52 am JST

What they "save" on meals and souvenirs the tourist will pay on air fares. Win win?

The airfare seems higher if you live in Japan because the yen is low.

Family in Canada are going to Europe next month the airfare is higher as the Canadian dollar being down also.

The USA dollar is flying high, so this offsets the hike in airfare.

Even traveling domestic in the USA or Europe airfares are up.

So in any case the cost is higher so give the choice to travel to Japan where your Dollar or Europe but you more with the low yen or take a trip to the USA or Europe were no such benefit exists, many will choose to get cheaper hotels cheaper food, cheaper travel in country despite a slightly higher airfare.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Boy it is a collection of negative whining complaining comments here.

"They won't wear masks", what will they buy, masks?" "Why will they come " airfare too high" etc....

I am high risk got all my shots will get omicron next month and looking forward to tourist coming to my shop, free water refill if they bring their own bottle, free WiFi, and place to rest and check out my antiques and my work.

My friends and business acquaintances are thinking and doing the same.

Enough is enough, we have done what we can so let's get back to living and not cowarding in our homes.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

We have a house over there we haven't seen in 3+ years. Open the country up and I'll buy our plane tickets the same day. Best exchange rate and low tourist volume sounds good to me.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

We all know Japanese love wearing their restrictive masks . Maybe the unmasked tourist's from progressive thinking countries might change the mind set of the locals.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

Bruce Kidd

We have a house over there we haven't seen in 3+ years. Open the country up and I'll buy our plane tickets the same day. Best exchange rate and low tourist volume sounds good to me.

I think you could have applied for an exemption.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

overcrowded destinations and public transport, continuing to ignore the critical issue of rising global emissions - when urgently and drastically need to be reduced.

Before the pandemic people were addressing the problem of over-tourism in major sightseeing spots, especially in Kyoto. Then "fewer people, more targeted and (ideally) more spending" strategy was sought. We shouldn't forget the basics.

A weak currency-induced economy cuts both ways. The covid spread in Japan via inbound visitors (evidenced by several analytical studies). A weak currency often suffers economic warfare, and even during peacetime other key industries and the general public get troubled with rising costs. It's not a win-win.

The UK, Norway and Switzerland are relatively successful in earning a lot by tourism although they don't belong to the eurozone and their currencies are more expensive than key base currencies. A strong currency doesn't necessarily lead to hampering tourism businesses.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I book a fight for Feb 2023 with JAL from Sydney to Tokyo return and It the cheapest fare I pay in 15 years of traveling to Japan. $940 is cost while the AUD was 71c to the USD $1 back in 2012 is cost $1350 while the AUD was $1.05 AUD to the $1 USD. Also fuel prices were at $1.50 a litre at the pump were today its $1.80 a litre. Go figure that.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Seems to me this "line" has shifted quite a bit over the past few decades. When it was around 100 yen to the dollar, the same thing was said, then 110, then 120, and now as it sped downward to around 145.

I also seem to recall the same things were said when it was on it's way up as well. Starting at around 200 or so back in the day. Things got really "psychologically scary" when it dropped under 80 yen to the dollar too.

Whomever comes up with this "psychologically important line" should really just stop!

In FX (foreign exchange) trading these "lines" are called support & resistance levels, they are important indicators for people who buy and sell foreign currencies. Depending on how the market moves these "lines" may act as support or resistance, which can prevent further price movement to the downside, or upside respectively. There will be multiple support and resistance bands at different levels based on historical price action.

These indicators have proven a very reliable way to trade foreign currencies, commodities, and stocks.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Dear Japanese policy makers

It takes MONTHs if not YEARS to prepare a travel plan. With your dilly-dallying around, people are not going to come back any time soon in the numbers you expect.

And by the way, how many vaccines will one need? At least three, right? And then the new one. And will one need masks and a tracking app?

Then forgeddabodit!

2 ( +10 / -8 )

If you are about to come to Japan or even thinking about leaving Japan then returning, better get your health Ministry QR code installed on your smart phone, and if you AINT got a smart phone better get one or check with the health ministry.

I'm about to leave Japan and I looked at the app required for your phone. But it is all so complicated. I can't make head or tail of how it all works. So I'm going the paper route. I'll let people know how I get on.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

better to be real and not over optimistic...

no boom will happen...at least not this year.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

I encourage all incoming tourists to come in and enjoy yourself. Masks are not required (in most places) and not even recommended outdoors (because it adds no value). Most people wear them not because of safety but because of “social pressure”. I suggest you just enjoy the cool fall air that is quickly approaching and spend your valuable dollars, pounds, or euros. They will go further than you think. Welcome to Japan!

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Speaking for myself i don't see major tourism returning until ALL the restrictions are lifted. That includes masks, visas, required vaccinations, etc. As a American who did not take the "jab" and does not intend to i do not see myself retuning to Japan in the near future. We owned a condo in Kobe and lived there part of the year before the China Virus came along and just sold it this month because i have not saw it for 2 years, I love Japan and its people dearly but sometimes wonder how it gets by with the political system it has. We want to plan a trip for next year but as of now everything is on hold!

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Whaaaaaaat? Lifting the cap and other restrictions and allowing in foreign tourists will be a boon for Japan's economy? How could we not have known this when... uhhh... people starting saying it months it not years ago? I love the genius quoted in the middle of the article who says, basically, "When the yen is weaker, foreign tourists tend to spend more." I wonder how long it took that detective to figure out.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Many people in other countries had a harrowing expetience with lockdowns, mandatory vaccines for wotk and fines or public screaming and aggression for not wearing asks.

Many of these places have already seen the error of their ways and have abandoned these failed policies, especially due to Omicron.

Many people will be reluctant to travel to a country where Covid restrictions such as PCR tests before arrival even for 2 dosed people, or go to a country where masks are seen all over the place. Masks and the hiding of smiles or faces is off putting to many other cultures.

People want to go somewhere peaceful and fun and forget their past 2 years trauma.

Not relive aspects of it in Japan.

Until Japan can grow up in these matters and fear driven policies, I fear the tourists won't come in droves.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Mark:

I DOUBT doubt it, Japan just can't do anything the simple way.

Indeed. However, it will surely happen soon or later. Yen is too cheep to ignore and travel restrictions have been too long. The whole world want to travel and Japan is an enticing place due to the devallued currency.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Even if they open the gates without restrictions it will take several years to reach the numbers we had prior to covid.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Sooner or later, Japanese society will repeat pandemic, government will do nothing as ever, it will force overwork to medical workers, and many patients will be killed without even ​getting medical service by incompetence of government.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Amazing how many negative Nellys there are.

"It takes months, even years to plan a trip"

*Even if they open fully it will takes years untill pre covid Numbers."

Etc...

Yep and if we don't start at some point nothing and no one will come!

And the "it takes months/ years to plan a trip" not in the 21st century with the internet.

My 80+ years old parents just decided to take a trip from Canada to Europe last week.

Booked the flights, Airbnb, airport pickup ( their old no longer drive) etc. . all in a few days online.

They leave mid October for 2 weeks.

And if you really want to save get last minute space available tickets a bit of a risk but major savings,

My parents used to always fly that way, retired and no real schedule to care about this was fine for them.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

The few people talking about mask. The world has move on… Japan will get there. Mask are optional first of all.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Even if regulations for entry are relaxed from October, not requiring a visa anymore, tourism will get nowhere close to what it was pre-Covid until the Chinese tourists can come back. They can’t because of their own country’s strict restrictions.

As a resident of Tokyo, it’s going to be strange, having lots of tourists back again. Frankly, from my own domestic tourism standpoint, it was quite nice these past few years. Visited all four islands plus Okinawa. Did more traveling in Japan these last three years than I did in the previous 27.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No. Will not wear a mask for 13 hour on plane.......JAL . Best for me to wait.......till Spring? .....

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Masks will still be a significant deterrent to inbound tourism.

It's not a crime not to wear one. I never wear them, never had a problem. Just ignore the recommendations.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Yeh a bit of the horse bwefore the cart much!!?? They need to actually open the borders first not just the tour group joke which is so tiresome noone wants to come anyway.

As for the CoCOA app wasn't that discontinued just recently because it was basically useless!!??

Probably just haven't told anyone on the frontline yet in usual Japanese bureaucratic slowness...

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/09/13/national/covid-app-end/

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Japan has only had visa restrictions up until now, and they say they will be lifted shortly.

There were no mask restrictions. There is no forced vaccine mandates.

People wear masks out of culture, and their tendency to be polite. There is no legal restrictions. A private company, can make rules for their shops if they want, as it is private property.

Without a mask, you may get glanced at, and the Japanese will think, "oh, there is another foreigner without a mask, and forget about you 5 seconds later." An elderly Japanese gentleman, may grumble angrily at you in passing, but don't worry about him, or no need to react to him. He has bigger issues in his life than you have in your's.

As for those complaining about their houses they owned in Japan being un occupied for two- three years. I hope you can get back to your homes shortly. There will probably be a lot of maintenance that needs to take place. Japan cycles of humid and dry weather age things much faster than they do in dry N. American or European climates.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

As a hopeful independent traveller, I have absolutely no problem wearing a mask. I'll be doing so regardless of the rules to lessen the risk of contracting covid on my travels and having my holiday spoilt with illness and a quarantine period in a hotel room. I don't know why people think travellers won't want to wear a mask, particularly in crowded places. Covid is here to stay for a while yet, so taking as many measures as I can to guard against it is my own mandate for my independent travel in Japan. Bring it on - ready to come in autumn and there will be a lot of Aussie snowboarders and skiers ready to come in winter. Drop the visa, open the door for independent travellers - make it a lot easier for us to visit and assist with Japan's economy.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

One of the safest countries to visit. People are masked (even before COVID) and respect others by and large. Much better than going somewhere that has disrespectful people sneezing and coughing all over the place.

Are Japanese more conscientious due to a background in Buddhism or are they less prone to be hooked on conspiracy theories from their Facebook feeds? My observation is both!

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Other than the ridiculousness in China, Japan is just about the only country left where people still bother with masks. My parents recently came to visit and, after I assured them it was not mandated, did not wear a mask the entire time here.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Just get rid of all the ridiculous restrictions and caps. The pandemic is over, or at least the ridiculous reaction to it should be.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Other than the ridiculousness in China, Japan is just about the only country left where people still bother with masks.

Far from the truth. I traveled to Korea and Puerto Rico within the last two months and you can't go anywhere indoors without a mask. Not the law but business owners will ask you to mask up our leave. Also people wear masks everywhere in public transportation.

That'd be 4 countries... ish that still bother with masks.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's quite rare to see someone with a cigarette where iam

Well obviously you don't live in Japan then.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

lol. You see? Win-win! There's no downside!

lol. No, your savings didn't lose almost 30% in value compared to other currencies. No, your paycheck, if in yen, won't lose more a further 10% purchasing power again come October, when 95% of food producers raise their prices by that much. And no, your heating, gas and energy bills won't wise any more than they've already done this winter. Even if they will...look on the "bright side!"

Win-win! A boost in tourism which accounts for less than 3% of GDP in total. And you get to work harder for less equivalent cash and purchases each week. What's not to like?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Awa no Gaijin

Today 12:24 pm JST

It's quite rare to see someone with a cigarette where iam

> Well obviously you don't live in Japan then.

I live in Japan over 30 years now.

Anyone saying that people are smoking everywhere haven't lived here in years.

Most restaurants now ban smoking completely the rest have closed in smoking areas.

Smoking in public on the roads while walking has been prohibited in most cities and wards and will get you a fine if caught.

I haven't seen an office or business that still permits smoking in at least 5 years and those that do have a dedicated location usually outside.

Malls etc.. have designated rooms far From the general public if even that now as most are closed and now moved outside hidden behind the mall someplace.

This is not the Japan of 30, 20, or even 10 years ago, things have changed.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

the Japanese people shouldn't go out from Japan , only vaccinated should go out and foreign should visit Japan only if they are also full vaccinated with test before and after arrive . NO VISA , no mask like in all country G7 . It is not fear and doesn't make any help to stop the tourist , now the yen is weak and they are looking for the tourist to help the economy , big mistake to close the board for so long .

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

My 80+ years old parents just decided to take a trip from Canada to Europe last week.

Booked the flights, Airbnb, airport pickup ( their old no longer drive) etc. . all in a few days online.

Yeah but for us working folk or students (basically non-retired people), we plan well in advance. So Japan just not on the list this year when other places are fully open for business.

If they think that flinging the doors open (still with some restrictions or some strong "urging") is going to suddenly bring hoards of tourists, they're mistaken. Japan is just too much trouble.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@Sanjinosebleed

As for the CoCOA app wasn't that discontinued just recently because it was basically useless!!??

Probably just haven't told anyone on the frontline yet in usual Japanese bureaucratic slowness...

The COCOA app has been discontinued, and hasn't been required for or after immigration in a while. What Mark and others are talking about though is the MySOS app, which is not required either, but speeds up the immigration process using a "fast track" process by getting all your documents pre-approved before immigration.

In my experience it is not that bad of an app either, I've certainly seen worse. One fills out a long and slightly tedious questionnaire, just like with regular paper-based immigration (the two necessary paper slips will also not be replaced by it). But the process itself works exceptionally well, documents get approved 24/7, within half an hour or so. And with the resulting QR code one slips through immigration within minutes. Honestly, it could even make for a good template for entering countries which require additional documents at immigration, pandemic regulations or not.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I’ve been in and out of Japan at least 5 times in the last two years and like a Pavlov dog , I actually feel queasy and irritable when the plane door opens and I see several uniformed officials scrutinizing the departing passengers, the long hike through the airport , the shuttered lifts and lavatories and the further scrutiny of a ream of papers etc.

For a tourist,it would most certainly not be a fortuitous start to a holiday.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

AntiquesavingToday  12:54 pm JST

Anyone saying that people are smoking everywhere haven't lived here in years.

Most restaurants now ban smoking completely the rest have closed in smoking areas.

Smoking in public on the roads while walking has been prohibited in most cities and wards and will get you a fine if caught.

I haven't seen an office or business that still permits smoking in at least 5 years and those that do have a dedicated location usually outside.

Malls etc.. have designated rooms far From the general public if even that now as most are closed and now moved outside hidden behind the mall someplace.

This is not the Japan of 30, 20, or even 10 years ago, things have changed.

Absolutely right.

As for this:-

David BrentToday  03:16 pm JST

If you can’t make your point without lying, please don’t bother at all.

Accusing someone of lying when they are so obviously right and you are so obviously wrong beggars belief.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

...a win-win effect of inbound tourism,

tourism - win

merchants - win

Japanese economy - win

The Japanese residents - I'm not sure, due to inflation with low to stagnant wages.

However, the saying goes that nothing is forever, so I have hope.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Antiquebloke

Great to see you having a PMA regarding the current situation, good luck to you. Great idea about getting visitors to your business.

Bertie Wooster

I would estimate 50% of adults smoke in the area in which I reside, though about half of them have switched to e cigs. About half the bars and cafes permit smoking and it’s normal to see smoking in the streets. I do travel the country and know that this is different to most places though.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The hope is that a weaker yen will be an additional boost, providing a win-win situation for foreign tourists

The problem is that it is not the yen that is weaker, but that the US dollar is stronger against all other currencies. It's been around the same level to the UK pound and the Euro for the last couple of years. So the bulk of tourists are likely to be Americans travelling the world looking to splash their massive relative wealth.

I think I'll hold off on my next trip until 2024.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

People are masked (even before COVID) and respect others by and large.

This is an overly general, mistaken due to ignorance or what, I dont know, wrong statement.

Japanese did not "mask up" as country until covid. The only one's that did, were folks who were sick with a cold, or wanted to prevent catching one, otherwise, no one wore masks on a daily basis.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Act fast on the complete reopening without any restriction including the type of vaccines allowed entry. Don't dilly-dally on the issue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Antiquebloke

> Great to see you having a PMA regarding the current situation, good luck to you. Great idea about getting visitors to your business.

It has been a long wait, the business has been on the recycle reuse platform since before covid but without tourism no point in remaining open, we offer free filtered water refill to help stop the use of plastic bottles, and a place to cool down in the summer heat or warm up in the winter.

A win win for everyone.

Now that enough people are vaccinated as well as myself and my family, there is no longer any reason to remain closed both for myself and the country.

Bertie Wooster

> I would estimate 50% of adults smoke in the area in which I reside, though about half of them have switched to e cigs. About half the bars and cafes permit smoking and it’s normal to see smoking in the streets. I do travel the country and know that this is different to most places though

If 50% smoke in your area then that would be 2.7 times the national average as of 2019 18% of adults in Japan smoked.

In theory any established opened after April 2020 cannot permit smoking there are a few exceptions.

Tokyo-to in theory bans smoking indoors exception are private homes and private clubs.

Most Tokyo cities ban outdoor smoking unless in designated areas.

Osaka has non smoking areas a like most Tokyo wards walking while smoking is prohibited but yes we do see it every day anyway.

I live near Asakusa and 10 or 20 years ago at night it would be full of smokers, today they huddle together in the few places still permitting smoking or at the designated smoking area.

Things have changed very quickly on this subject in Japan.

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kurisupisu

I’ve been in and out of Japan at least 5 times in the last two years and like a Pavlov dog , I actually feel queasy and irritable when the plane door opens and I see several uniformed officials scrutinizing the departing passengers, the long hike through the airport , the shuttered lifts and lavatories and the further scrutiny of a ream of papers etc.

Yeah, I agree. The COVID regulations and documentation at the airport is a big deterrent for traveling not only to Japan or anywhere. COVID policies and regulations are really complicated, keep changing, and different for every country. Since the regulations keep changing, it is difficult to know if you have the right information. Then when you get to the airport, you realize you have long process of going through all the regulatory departments that take a long time. Ugh.

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Japan should fully open its borders for tourism because that will boost the demand for yen thus, increasing its value.

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Mask! Why are people so negi on masks. If you live in Japan before Covid mask were worn by 50% of the population. I used to laugh about Japanese wearing mask in the car while alone in the car. This was before COVID. It so to protect the car interior surfaces. Very considerate of them was my first thought.

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