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7 from U.S. arrive in Japan for 1st test tour before tourism reopening


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It’s amazing that they even found seven people to go along with this nonsense.

48 ( +75 / -27 )

I welcome back tourism to Japan. let's get this economy going again!

-2 ( +20 / -22 )

From June, travellers to Japan from countries and regions with a low risk of transmission will no longer be required to have quarantine checks or self-isolate at home, regardless of whether they have had three COVID-19 vaccines.

Is that true? I thought everybody including Japanese nationals and residents had to have three vaccines. You don't have to sel-isolate if you test negative.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

Cmon they should do these tests in secret, its kinda embarassing…

That being said most of us Japanese are 70 years old and counting so these kinds of measures probably are for them (and the oyajis making the policy)

-2 ( +11 / -13 )


Nobody HAS to be vaccinated here.

Thats in the free west.

7 ( +22 / -15 )

Did they choose these 7 for their particular look so no one knows they are foreign? Diversity and inclusiveness please. Lol

41 ( +66 / -25 )

Did they choose these 7 for their particular look so no one knows they are foreign?

How could the J government organize a tour so quickly?I wonder whether these tours are subsidized by the J government.

15 ( +26 / -11 )

did they win the lottery or something? or just visiting some random country?

6 ( +11 / -5 )

You just couldn't make it up...

29 ( +42 / -13 )

Hope they don’t get coronavirus while they’re here!

20 ( +36 / -16 )

That’s their poster photo of opening the borders? Might want to reassess the advertising/ propaganda agency contract. Ukrainian refugee’s looked more relaxed.

22 ( +33 / -11 )

Have they been profiled? Most of them look like Japanese people to me.

40 ( +58 / -18 )

From the pic and also from Hawaii,me thinks that they have roots in Japan and probably swung on the chance or were chosen for a subsidized tour and will have the chance to visit hometown while at it.I doubt a random tourist would want to come given the restrictions.

16 ( +33 / -17 )

Did they choose these 7 for their particular look so no one knows they are foreign? Diversity and inclusiveness please. Lol

JTB employees?....

40 ( +51 / -11 )

How could the J government organize a tour so quickly?I wonder whether these tours are subsidized by the J government.

my guess is that they are heavily subsidized to the point where they are probably free for the travelers themselves

13 ( +17 / -4 )

What a diverse group of "tourists". Is the Japanese government really going to stoop to such low means of propaganda in order to save face in the international community? I mean they could have at least thrown in a token Caucasian if they were already going to be un-PC about this whole farce.

15 ( +33 / -18 )

What is the logic or science in keeping this group so segregated and controlled ( how much so yet to be clearly defined) when everyone else on the same plane from the same place is out in the community as normal. It is ridiculous. So many questions. When they visit somewhere will they be kept apart from everyone else in the area. Will they be confined to their hotel at night on quarantined off floors . Can they freely go into the nearby convenience store. Such small groups do they travel everywhere in private mini bus or car. I suspect in reality they will not be so totally isolated from those around them as they go around making the whole point of this pointless idea even further pointless.

17 ( +25 / -8 )


10 ( +20 / -10 )

GOOD luck.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

Maybe this is an attempt to convince people that all hunans look alike (like Japanese)?


21 ( +38 / -17 )

I wonder what will happen in the case that one of these people gets tested positive during the trip... Are they going to close the borders again for two years?

8 ( +24 / -16 )

regardless of whether they have had three COVID-19 vaccines.

Odd way to say “unvaccinated”?

or is this trying to say vaccinated but no booster?

-4 ( +11 / -15 )

@Blacklabel : Read the website, regarding Red, Yellow and Blue countries and what that will mean before making snide comments you know the answer too.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

The ethnic range of the group is very troubling

16 ( +32 / -16 )

Interesting file photo for the press. A bit fitting how the sign behind them says "No entry".

17 ( +28 / -11 )

a business lobby known as Keidanren, has recently called for "realistic discussions" on reopening

There hasn’t been a “realistic discussion” in Japan since the bubble economy burst.

1st test tour before tourism reopening

what are they testing?

How much they can control a group without pissing them off?

9 ( +21 / -12 )

The ethnic range of the group is very troubling...

It seems intentional. A Japanese government official earlier said it doesn't want to cause upset or shock to Japanese people by suddenly opening the floodgates to foreigners, hence the small trial groups....and in this case, of people who look familiar to them.

1 ( +18 / -17 )


8 ( +15 / -7 )

@Blacklabel : Read the website, regarding Red, Yellow and Blue countries and what that will mean before making snide comments you know the answer too.

Or this article, if well written, could clearly tell us.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

What an absolutely bizarre experiment! Yet another contribution to the "weird Japan" stereotype.

12 ( +27 / -15 )

Good for them, enjoy Japan..

Little by little we will return to normal and everything will be better than before..


These aren't Americans hahahahahaha

Why judge someone's nationality only by their appearance??, little culture of some..

Read the website

Why some people who are conservative and anti-science need to read more ??..

-22 ( +7 / -29 )

The Magnificent 7

11 ( +17 / -6 )

This whole controlled tour expirament is pointless. If they finally open the borders for tourism, it'll be nothing like this. What a waste of time for the businesses that are barely hanging on.

25 ( +28 / -3 )

Wow...with such a "diverse" test group...Japan shows the world who it really trusts!

Imagine the headline if any country in the West chose exclusively white people as their "world tourist test"?

You know the Left would be spinning that one HARD, with all the contempt for their homelands that they typically harbour, lathered up in a frenzy about the "open racism" displayed so blatantly by the government.

lol. Double standards the world over.

-6 ( +16 / -22 )

I stopped reading when I read six of them are from Hawaii. Who are fooling? Hawaii is the second home to most Japanese people. I wouldn't be surprised all these people are Japanese resident in Hawaii. Returnee Japanese to be specific, and suddenly they suit the foreigner tag.

23 ( +38 / -15 )

Are they testing if 7 people who haven't spent all their lives here aren't going to throw this harmonious country out of its fragile equilibrium?

It's always amazing to see how small-mindedness gets spinned as kindness.

5 ( +20 / -15 )

Yeh nice to see they are allowing "Japanese" tourists into Japan.....

The best thing about this nonsense is the change of quarantine and vaccination requirements from june!

Let the good times roll!

3 ( +19 / -16 )

Safe bet they came to visit their relatives and not for tourism.

4 ( +22 / -18 )

What the hell is there to test? If they tested negative for Covid, they don't have Covid. They can go to an onsen like anybody else without a problem.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

ALL are welcome! Time to get the Japanese tourism economy up and running again. Japan needs U.S. dollars!

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Since Hawaii's state Governor was here last month to try and push the govt to relax covid restrictions and increase Japanese tourists back to Hawaii , it's no wonder that 6/7 Americans allowed in from the USA are from Hawaii state and not other areas of USA...Japanese tourists spend the most in Hawaii...way more tnan mainlanders in Hawaii...so Business as usual...money talks, everything else walks...

1 ( +9 / -8 )

This is hilarious!!!!

8 ( +24 / -16 )

Why don't you explain how I can get to be a part of this? I want to tour Japan with all of my heart! Please?


Jennifer Taylor

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

They look more like JTB staff than your typical foreign tourists. I'm sure it was something the government put together quickly. I'm not surprised. Not the real deal. Just a show piece to Japan.

5 ( +17 / -12 )

Did they choose these 7 for their particular look so no one knows they are foreign? Diversity and inclusiveness please. Lol

Just testing the waters. Step by step. This way, they don't frighten the locals. Next test, they will get them to speak loudly in English. If all's well, they'll start introducing one or two caucasians.

-8 ( +12 / -20 )

They had an interview on TV with one of the women participants who was not very articulate, almost as if she was not sure why she was taking part. One of her comments was “to see if it’s safe here”…

3 ( +17 / -14 )

Jennifer L Taylor Today  09:01 am JST

Why don't you explain how I can get to be a part of this? 

It is really just a bit of theater to butter up the Japanese people (mainly the oldies) into accepting a proper opening of the borders to tourists later. Many people expect this might happen after the elections in July. Until then, expect a bit more of this silliness. Just hang in there another couple of months and I wouldn’t be surprised if you can visit then.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

One wonders how immigration/customs coped with this massive influx. A credit to their efficiency to deal with these numbers. Did they roster on extra staff in case the workload became too onerous?

7 ( +17 / -10 )

And here we go and again this is how Japan totally racially profiles people.

These tourists with mask included could totally pass for Japanese.

So much for diversity and this shows again how Japan struggles to accept other ethnic groups due to their ingrained xenophobia (fear for the outside)

This poster photo is to reassure local people with more “familiar” faces.

Nothing changed and nothing will ever change.


4 ( +22 / -18 )

Useless experiment...

14 ( +18 / -4 )

That’s their poster photo of opening the borders? Might want to reassess the advertising/ propaganda agency contract. Ukrainian refugee’s looked more relaxed.

japanese americans visiting their old hometowns, no real tourist in their right minds would agree to be subjected to constant surveillance while trying to relax in some country abroad

2 ( +15 / -13 )

I'm sorry, but they look like Japanese Americans. Wow, Japan. I don't know what to say...

10 ( +25 / -15 )

Just re-title the story to "7 Japanese from the US land in Japan again for the first time in 2 years."

7 ( +24 / -17 )

What a farce.

10 ( +23 / -13 )

As long as they take antigen tests before and after arrival, and quarantine for 10 days, this is amazing news. The US has over 1,000,000 deaths, Japan just 62,000.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

All the babas that work in gift and souvenir shops in Kyoto are going to be so overwhelmed with this huge influx of tourists!!!

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

hilarious! i guess the locals are not ready for caucasian or other race of tourists yet... this is so Japan!

9 ( +27 / -18 )

I doubt these are “normal” people. I would be surprised if they were not selected for their deep ties to people and groups in Japan and Hawaii. The set up for the “tourism” is quite similar to the DPRK tours. What an absurdly obvious farce this is.

1 ( +15 / -14 )

t’s amazing that they even found seven people to go along with this nonsense.

Probably travelling for free, all under the guise of "safety travel for all"

15 ( +21 / -6 )

Why don't they just have the same requirements for these incoming tourists from the accepted countries that are required of Japanese citizens/residents who go abroad to those countries when they return?

They're all exposed to the same things in those countries. Why should non-Japanese arriving from those countries be treated differently than Japanese returning from those countries?

5 ( +10 / -5 )

This is funny to me. It is like what China had done for many decades with their "China Discovery Tours". The China tours all run by the government had set itineraries to several cities and tourist spots.

I guess the tours are fine for people who want to be guided the whole trip and not have to think about anything regarding hotels, transportation, how to get to places, and have to research tourist spots. However, for those veteran travelers in Japan, this will be much too rigid of traveling. No freedom to make your own schedule or see places that you want to see.

They should just open up Japan for all travelers.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I’m finally visiting family in the UK next week. I’m sure my family think I’m joking with all the paperwork, apps and testing I need to return back to Japan, with the rules at the moment.

If the government is serious about encouraging tourism in the near future big changes need to be made. Not just stopping testing at the airport. The 72 hour test prior to the flight is a real stumbling block for tourists. I have found as testing is being reduced, so are the places to get tested and have the Japanese government form completed. Then having to input the info into the app and a copy of the pcr test at least 16 hours before arriving.

For me I am having to stay at Heathrow for a couple of days to get tested. This is not ideal, but it is what I have to do if I want to see my elderly parents.

Not sure I would consider doing this if I was just a tourist. Would not have the time and it is not cheap.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

As part of infection prevention measures, groups will comprise no more than four people, with participants asked to wear masks when visiting tourist spots or using transportation.

Recently, the J-Gov stated that it's okay to not wear masks outdoors unless in close conversation with others, right? Since some J-nationals complained about maybe getting heatstroke and what not during the hot summer months, etc.

But foreigners who come to this country have to wear masks when visiting tourist spots? So it's okay then to put foreigners lives in danger of having heatstroke then? And it's okay to ask foreigners to basically be treated differently than Japanese nationals in the eyes of the Japanese laws, as long as the government is only "asking" for foreigners to do this when visiting tourist spots?

This is utterly ridiculous. Between the lack of consistency in the application of rules in a fair and non-racially biased way, to the fact that they could not have picked a more "Japanese" bunch of tourists for the first tour... it only proves my theory correct that Japan is a third world country pretending to be a first world nation.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

This is almost certainly going to be subsidized by the Japanese taxpayer. Which is bad enough, but then the people who've come on the trip seem to be Nikkeijin (people of Japanese descent), sending this "opening up" exercise into the realms of farce. It's fifteen groups of three or four spread between twelve prefectures, so they could just stick them in fifteen rented cars and keep them completely separate from everyone.

btw, when interviewed last week, Alex Kerr said he thought Japan would not open up till next spring. He'll have better contacts with high-ups in tourism than most of us, so I'm inclined to believe him. While people working in international tourism, myself included, might be expected to "save for a rainy day", next spring will be three years from the start of the pandemic. Three years with no income requires a lot of savings.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Annyeonghaseyo! Welcome to NK, don't forget to bow at every portrait of Kim Il Sung... oh wait it's Japan?! Nevermind

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

Looking at the published photo. I felt like Japanese came to visit Japan as tourist. Just one question does this small-scale test tours "guided-itinerary" cost extra than regular season or the extra is Govt. sponsored?

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

The number of foreign visitors to Japan totaled 31.88 million in 2019,

Remember how horrible it was to visit peaceful sites like Kyoto, Nara & Nikko then? We don't want to go there again. Tourism should be open but not back to the over run state as before.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

What is this "test" with this sample size supposed to measure? It is a clear example of the lack of scientific process behind Japan's COVID policy. Fire everyone behind this debacle.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I can’t even solve it mathematically or logically…lol While we can easily split the seven into two groups for the two itineraries , below or equal 4 because of corona, that means 4 and 3 or 3 and 4, but how to do that together with the one guiding person or maybe two guiding persons? Two guides, then we have groups with 5 and 4, if they travel at the same time. And sequentially, it would also result in 5 and 4 , or with only one guide, at best 4 and 4, but then one guest cannot travel at all on any of the two tours. The only valid solution would be , one group of 4 without a guide and the other group with 3 plus one guide. Can you follow? Surely. So how to solve that? I’m out and don’t get it. ROFL

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is absolutely hilarious! It's Japan in a nutshell.

0 ( +15 / -15 )

The group leader (having done many tours) was clearly of Japanese origin and could have probably done the news interview in Japanese but to give the impression of ‘foreignness’ the interview was subtitled in the interview at the airport.

It is nice to see past generations coming back to see their homeland-when is Brazil being added to the list, I wonder?

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Seems surreal that Japan choose to open the country for 7 people on a trial. I wonder what exactly is the rationale from trying on such microscopic scale.

I also wonder what the 7 tourists feelings are right now, being the "chosen ones" for such privilege.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

This whole controlled tour expirament is pointless. 

From a political point it is actually quite savvy.

One of Kishida's first action after becoming prime minister was to make even more strict the border restrictions than they were before because of the Omicron scare, and it was seen as extremely positive for his approval rating, and in fact, it was deeming at the start of this year by LDP senior members as the main reason for his high approval rating.

After seeing how Abe and Suga got their approval rating destroyed after trying to remove restrictions, specially border restrictions, he knows very well that there is very little to no appetite for removing restrictions nationally, but he is getting criticized internationally, not to mention that the pressure from a dying tourism industry, and from some people who want to be able to travel internationally without so much hassle.

It is very well understood that any real change in border restrictions will only take place AFTER this year's election, which is why he is basically just removing the quadruple restrictions that were implemented during these 2+ years that were supposed to do exactly the same thing, like for example, the supposed complete ban on most foreigners, it was redundant because most foreigners were already not able to get into the country anyway, so he got rid of that so that he can play the "we are removing border restrictions" while also basically implying that nothing has changed, because indeed, mostly nothing has changed.

He is also moving extremely slowly so that if starts to lose approval rating because of his actions, he can quickly stop them and roll them back, as he has already said he will do "if necessary".

This tour is nothing more than a show for the tourist industry and mostly for international newspapers, so that they paint this idea that Japan has already opened their borders, so that Kishida doesn't get criticized by the international media in his next trip to London.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

How endearing and considerate these foreign tourists are, they bring in a big box with a lot of souvenirs for Japanese residents.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

let's allow foreign tourists!


But actually let's just allow foreign tourists who LOOK as if they are Japanese....we don't wanna scare the people!



3 ( +16 / -13 )

Surely this ‘test’ is not significant. Only 7 people. What exactly are they testing? It is more laughable than anything.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

@Bronco - Not true yet. We don't know which countries will be on the 'Blue'' list. Has yet to be published. So it not all encompassing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Tourist profiling measures in June : need to have almond eyes, not too suntanned, not too tall, not big. Understanding Japanese required too but no needed skill to speak it.

If the test fails, only group of two will be then allowed.

If it fails again, tourists will have to come individually and a human leash will be freely provided by the JPLA (Japanese Tourists Lovers Association) to be guided.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

They had an interview on TV with one of the women participants who was not very articulate, almost as if she was not sure why she was taking part. One of her comments was “to see if it’s safe here”…

And a free vacation op.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I enquired with my local JNTO about these tours- this was their reply:

The tours are actually for the travel industry (not general tourists) and they are being organised by travel agencies in Japan, appointed by JATA (Japan Association of Travel Agents.)

This suggests to me that only persons in the travel industry in the permitted countries will be able to avail themselves of these 'special tours'.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Smoke screen!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

7 from Hawaii and LA !

Interesting how they not only look Japanese but most are dressed as most elderly Japanese.

I am not basing my comment on physical appearance based of biology.

I am going by how I know "Americans" dress and how "Japanese" dress

4 ( +13 / -9 )

What exactly are they testing?

Public opinion mostly. They are testing how much this farce will affect Kishida's approval vs. how much will the people complaining internationally about Japan's borders will shut up.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

"Test tour" What are they testing? You could travel from Okinawa to Hokkaido and basically be a tourist group just like these folks. Its bizarre. Like are they going to be followed around like they are visiting North Korea? I imagine this is what they think the paranoid public wants. If they don't do this and something does happen, they are worried about being called "reckless" so its overkill as always.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I really don’t see what this is meant to test… 6 billion or more people in the world and 7 allowed in? Ummm…

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

There's a genuine possibility that one or more have Japanese citizenship also.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

I love this country but I think I'd rather kill myself than be on that tour.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

I'd like to know how these people were recruited at such short notice. I don't want to be part of the test, but out of curiosity, I've been scanning various sites on the net including the Japanese Government and the Tourist people, but can't see anything requesting interest from Australia.

Roll on the next test - couples who plan and book their own trips in Japan! I'm ready for that one! Quadruple faxed, yen already at hand, passports up to date, and rough itinerary ready to fine tune and book.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Why don't you explain how I can get to be a part of this? I want to tour Japan with all of my heart! Please?


Jennifer Taylor

Visiting some relatives?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Wow! It's kind of strange to see gaikokujin again back in Japan. I hope these tourists have no trouble with the language, food, using chopsticks, taking a bath etc.. But it's nice that they have a guide.

Also good advice would be for them not to mix with the locals due to the very high numbers of Covid19 here, wear a mask at all times, wash their hands, social distance and stay indoors.

Yokoso! Welcome to Japan!

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Any idea of when and/or where the list of blue/yellow/red countries can be found? Also, does "vaccination certificate" mean 2 doses or 3...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A correspondence system will also be set up for cases where someone tests positive mid-tour.

A free return immediate ticket ?

A free quarantine in a 5 star hotel ?

I read now such articles as if it was a humour newsite, although unforunately it is not.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

ahahah Japan, what a wonderful country lol

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

@Steven Mccarthy

Yeah and stupidity knows no limit too. What about you think just one minute for a start? What Japan is doing is stupid, grotesque and xenophobic. Japanese are free to travel and they do travel internationally alone or in group without much restrictions so how in the world it makes sense to impose such BS on foreign tourists? Unless you are also stupid enough to think that the virus has some magical will to choose to infect anyone but Japanese. You don’t think that do you? Good, so stop saying nonsense.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

@Attilathehungry: Countries have not been announced yet - as in which band they will fall in to.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Luis David Yanez

Today  12:22 pm JST

This whole controlled tour expirament is pointless. 

From a political point it is actually quite savvy.

This is a very good analysis. Unfortunately, the whole situation with entry restrictions shows the real-life repercussions of a large part of the public thinking that Japan is somehow uniquely safe and Japanese people are extraordinarily orderly.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

After what I witnessed over the past 2+ years I will never trust the Japanese again. When the chips are down they will stab you in the back.,.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Seven people... and they are guided the whole time. Wow, that sounds like a load of laughs. Seven people? They can't go where they want, when they want... are they potentially so badly infected that the Japanese people need to be protected from them?

What makes us, as tourists, any more of a risk than your average Japanese citizen? We've had our vaccines, wear masks, etc...

Sorry, but this is a joke!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@ Rain Man

The unvaccinated but uninflected have been subject to varying degrees of quarantine with 2 weeks being the longest that I had to do.

Triple jabbed usually means no quarantine if the country of origin meets Japanese approval which is sort of illogical…

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I would not pay a single cent, penny, yen to be herded around, visiting sites which I have no interest in (I certainly would not choose to visit a shrine). Will these tourists have to ask permission to go to the toilet?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I think it's reading too much into it to say this has a big effect of a PM's popularity. None of them ever want to take responsibility for anything, see Koike saying "national guidelines" when asked whether Tokyo needed a state of emergency and national politicians saying "it's up to the mayor", but I doubt many voters out there are keenly watching the border situation in readiness for voting for a different politician.

Suga's main problems were that he kowtowed to the IOC over the Olympics and would do "bou yomi", i.e., he would read printouts at press conferences in the most wooden and uncharasmatic way possible. There were always lots of comments about this on Japanese sites like Yahoo. He would also get quite petulant/combative when asked anything he didn't like.

Kishida looks a bit younger, has something resembling a personality, can actually crack a smile, and is not Suga, so that's him okay for the time being.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This seems like the government micro-managing the free economy again….

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan will allow 20.000 tourists per day from June 01.

But what are the conditions?

Yesterday I phoned the Japanese Embassy in the Netherlands, they did not know anything about this.

If you allow only 20.000 per day from the whole world, I suppose you need to apply for a tourist visa, but if the embassy does not know anything about this, how can you go to Japan.....

Does anyone know this?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Giny Speelman

Re-read the article. For the 20,000 allowed to enter Japan per day, this includes Japanese citizens and foreign residents, students, etc, but it does not include tourists.

As stated in the article:

Despite plans for some restrictions to be eased, including doubling the maximum daily limit on eligible overseas arrivals to 20,000 from June, no date for lifting tourist entry restrictions has been indicated.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I get the feeling that the hidden agenda is to force all tourists coming to Japan to use Japanese travel companies.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

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