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As COVID fears ebb, Japan readies for more tourists from abroad

47 Comments
By YURI KAGEYAMA

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47 Comments
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The people of Japan might have learnt to appreciate foreign tourists in the last few years but the people in charge of letting them in don’t seem to, judging by the bureaucratic mess at the borders.

They make such hard work of everything.

15 ( +21 / -6 )

I visited Kugenuma beach with a friend this weekend and on the way home we found a very local izakaya. They hesitantly welcomed us two foreigners and seemed apprehensive about language problems until we spoke and ordered in Japanese. Many local customers came in after us. Local businesses like this are doing okay, but I think so many were burned investing in the tourism boom via hotels, hostels, restaurants, that they may never return. Imagine investing your entire nest egg in a business catering to tourists a few years ago and now you are flat broke.

22 ( +24 / -2 )

Shuso Imada, general manager at JSS Information Center, a sake and shochu showroom in downtown Tokyo, said he has been feeling pretty lonely and is itching to tell foreign visitors about how to match the traditional Japanese rice wine with all kinds of non-Japanese food, even cheese and beef.

Notice how the article never has quotes from the workers? It is all owners and general managers.

The workers were overwhelmingly laid off three years , as business owners collected relief funds.

Now with the great tourist revival hallelujah! ; they are looking to lure back all these rickshaw pullers, guides and clerks?

Japan could see a version of the Western labor pinch.

16 ( +23 / -7 )

There are much, much better, safer and more welcoming destinations than Japan at present.

-4 ( +23 / -27 )

Visitors have to abide by guidelines requiring travelers to have a special coordinator, stay on specific routes and abide by rules like wearing masks and regularly using disinfectant.

Foreign countries should put the same restrictions on Japanese travellers.

-1 ( +23 / -24 )

I think Japan shouldn't open its border completely.

Organized tours are enough in my opinion.

-26 ( +7 / -33 )

Regardless of the headline, this is NOT a positive tourism article. Japan is not making itself ready for an influx of tourists. Legitimate tourists to Japan do not take tours.

20 ( +27 / -7 )

Just go to Thailand it’s more welcoming and has better beaches, hotels and laws. It’s way better then sitting on a bus all day being guided to one recreation of a thing to another concrete recreation of a thing.

1 ( +21 / -20 )

Maybe they will go back home with stories about power shortages and blackouts.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

My personal Covid fear has not ebbed much. Just saying.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

These businesses don’t seem to get it, the borders will never open as before, there will be hoop after hoop to get in, and there’s a visa application backlog ensuring that almost nobody gets in. The gov doesn’t want to open period. Why ? What have did I do? It’s past the covid excuse long ago.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

I realize that many many business' from small to large have suffered since this pandemic hit the world. But if any of them think that everything is going to bounce right back to the pre-Covid "inbound" craziness (and cash flow) I'm afraid they're kidding themselves. It will all return eventually, but it's still in the future. Letting in a certain number of tourists under closely controlled group tours ain't gonna cut the mustard.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Keeping sanitary standards

Nothing much more unsanitary than wearing a sweaty mask all day in 35 degrees Celsius heat! Gross!

-4 ( +15 / -19 )

design-monkeyToday  05:58 pm JST

My personal Covid fear has not ebbed much. Just saying.

be not afraid I’ve had it and I’ve had worse colds!

Unless you are over 80 sick or with other comorbidities get outside and enjoy your life! Though even the flu is dangerous for the at risk groups which we never seemed to stop the world for before… just sayin….

7 ( +14 / -7 )

We will be fine!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So when is the need for pre departure tests going to be dropped for tripple jabbed? This article told me everything except what I wanted to know.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

A Japanese shoo owner dragged my wife out from his shop today by her arm in Asakusa saying she is Russian.

Well she is not but no thanks from this type of Japanese welcome of tourists…

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Just go to Thailand it’s more welcoming and has better beaches, hotels and laws. It’s way better then sitting on a bus all day being guided to one recreation of a thing to another concrete recreation of a thing.

And fully legal weed.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

An already grossly overpopulated country, Japan certainly doesn't need tourism as in the past.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

Wow, I am Japanese, and that was that the most Japan-centric article I’ve read in awhile!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I’ve resigned myself to Japan not opening up to independent tourism until next Spring. I just can’t see enough signs to indicate otherwise.

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

They’ll open!… give it a couple of weeks after the election then watch!

In Australia you wouldn’t even know there was a Covid epidemic anymore has completely fallen off every media and govt radar!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Even if I had enough money and time and no matter how I like Japan Id never visit until masks are no longer there, either to be it summer or any other time of the year.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Really, foreign tourists are not interested in tours or tests to visit Japan

Japanese visiting aboard don’t need them. They are enjoying the freedom of Europe.

So, most Europeans are ignoring Japan.

-2 ( +15 / -17 )

The rickshaw men in Tokyo are adding English-speaking staff

Did they lay off their previous English speaking staff?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

abides by the rules, like wearing masks

When the PM does some tourism overseas, he does not wear a mask @ G7

0 ( +8 / -8 )

The Japanese Government says PLEASE bring money but we want you "DIRTY" visitors to follow our guidelines by having a special coordinator, stay on specific routes and wear your masks and regularly wash your hands!! That's like going on a tour to the zoo where you have a coordinator who takes you around to make sure you don't end up in the lions den. Who wants to pay alot of money only to be told where they can go and where they can't go in Japan what is the purpose of the visit. If thats the case I could just look at picture on the internet.

-2 ( +13 / -15 )

Welcome to Japan.....

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

It could take many years if not decades for Japan to rebuild the goodwill it lost during the "lesser Sakoku of 2020-2*". Every headline every story out of Japan has been negative and/or disappointing over the past few years and I don't see how that'll suddenly change. Tourism IS hospitality not heralded bus tours while being reminded how uncultured and dirty you are as a foreigner. Thanks but NO thanks.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

@BigYen I understand feeling cynical, but what makes you think Japan will remain closed to normal tourists until next spring (7-8 months away)? Once the election passes, I'm not sure what reason there will be to continue restricting entry to monitor tourists.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I emailed JNTO about the situation and it doesn't look like it'll be changing any time soon - I'll probably have to rebook my flights until Spring... I can't see me roaming happily around in November...

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Japan is a favorite destination, despite its not "opening up 100%," said Nuttavut Mitsumoto, the guide for the group, Thai travel agency Compax World’s first to Japan since it relaxed its entry rules.

Won't open completely until after the general elections.

Or until after the next wave.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Not "opening up 100%"

lol, Japan is not even open 1% of what it was before COVID

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@Thunderbird2 JNTO, which is a private organization, doesn't know anything one way or another. They get their information at the same time all of us do.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

there has been lots of such articles coming up to reassure tourists and businesses nut they should just open up after the elections,if not already lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“I would love to have tourists from abroad come, as long as everyone, including myself, abides by the rules, like wearing masks

Nope, that's not going to happen.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I'm with Yuuju.

I would never visit with all their ridiculous constraints and restrictions. It's not worth all the undue stress I would be forced to endure.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Nobody should leave the Japan if nobody can entry .

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Not every visitor has to put up with that BS if they have family in Japan who can sponsor them.

I would never visit with all their ridiculous constraints and restrictions. It's not worth all the undue stress I would be forced to endure.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“Visitors have to abide by guidelines requiring travelers to have a special coordinator, stay on specific routes and abide by rules like wearing masks and regularly using disinfectant.”

Some or most tourists will not abide the rules, it’s how they are… they just don’t care.

It will be too crowded in Tokyo and other cities. There should be a limit amount of tourists coming in and I believe that Japanese citizens should enjoy their own country.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Amanda:

I’m not being cynical, I’m being skeptical. I’m just not seeing anything encouraging, and believe me I want to get back to Japan again. On this issue at least, I’d be very happy to be proved wrong.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think it's unfortunate that the business owners reliant on foreign tourism are continuously misled into thinking their circumstances will improve.

I still assert the fact that Japan opening up one year ago before the Olympics would have still been too late to start this process.

To think they could have spurred their economy with tourism during a global event. Moreover the delta variant was both less deadly than the original variant and less contagious than the current ones. Did the Japanese government actually think healthy foreign travellers in their 20s-40s would actually be crowding hospitals or dropping dead on the street? What a joke.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Worries about COVID-19 remain. If infections shoot up again in another wave, pandemic precautions could be brought back.

Infections are shooting up. Japan needs a zero covid strategy if they want the success China has with the lowest infection rate in the world.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I visited Kugenuma beach with a friend this weekend and on the way home we found a very local izakaya. They hesitantly welcomed us two foreigners and seemed apprehensive about language problems until we spoke and ordered in Japanese. Many local customers came in after us. Local businesses like this are doing okay, but I think so many were burned investing in the tourism boom via hotels, hostels, restaurants, that they may never return. Imagine investing your entire nest egg in a business catering to tourists a few years ago and now you are flat broke.

I live in Kugenuma. All the bars and izakayas in and around Fujisawa are perfectly friendly to foreigners. There is a fair sized foreigner community here with mixed Japanese abilities and in all my time here I have never been refused entry due to being a foreigner.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Glad that my wife isn't Russian.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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