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Travel firms thrown into confusion over rules as Japan reopens to foreign tourists

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maybe they should sit around and wait like the rest of us until all the tiny little government bits and pieces land.

13 ( +25 / -12 )

These are the most basic of rules . Seems the tourism industry would rather live on fully funded corporate welfare payments.

-42 ( +7 / -49 )

Excellent. The best thing that can happen is for this program to fail and collapse, because it will expose the reality that the government is essentially burning taxpayer money.

15 ( +38 / -23 )

Ahh yes. Typical Japan organization style.

Make the rules as complicated as humanly possible. With the least amount of communication used as possible.

See you in 2023, tourists.

22 ( +47 / -25 )

During the tour itself, the agencies will also keep records of the participants' movements, including places they visited and where they sat on public transportation.

You can't be serious.

23 ( +41 / -18 )

Why does JGOV over complicate everything single thing it touches .

22 ( +40 / -18 )

What an absolute farce. Everywhere else has now gotten rid of pretty much all restrictions on travel, mask-wearing and everything else and the sky hasn't fallen in. What is it about the Japanese that makes them think that they are so different, so special compared to everyone else on the planet? They really do think of themselves as a different species.

19 ( +39 / -20 )

They probably could organise a ‘piss up in a brewerey’.

How embarrassing for Japan to be represented by a group of bumbling idiots.

Just open the borders and let the tourists bring their money with them.

9 ( +23 / -14 )

but easing border restrictions while rebuilding the country's hospitality industry will prove to be a challenging task.

All this talk about reopening and COVID protocols and visa procedures; but none about all the travel agency, hotel, transportation and restaurant staff dependent on international tourism who were laid off in the pandemic with no support while their firms were bailed out.

So are they offering massive wage increases to lure people back and rebuild the industry?

The lack of discussion about his central issue, a huge failure due to the combined greed of Japan Inc. and the LDP, is baffling to me.

18 ( +25 / -7 )

Ridiculous situation but not fully unexpected. Japanese "organization" at its best.

7 ( +25 / -18 )

Like I said before, if you try to cover two issues simultaneously you end up messing up both. Either keep tourists out until such draconian measures are not required, or let tourists in to roam freely as in pre-Covid.

15 ( +22 / -7 )

The only reason Kishida did this at the G7 conference was to save face in front of the other member countries. Japan is extremely contamination phobic and so now it is putting up barriers to travel just as the Shogunate did during the Edo era with 関所 checkpoints to control movement on the main roads. Only the most devout Japanophile will put up with the monitoring and repeated testing. That said, people are entering on student and business visas and going about their business unfettered and unmonitored.

-2 ( +17 / -19 )

In contrary, it’s very intelligent to bridge the time for that unwanted excessive mass influx by confusion, until the next infection wave starts in late summer or autumn and ends it more naturally.

-25 ( +2 / -27 )

This whole thing is stupid. I feel sorry for the businesses that are hanging on for dear life.

18 ( +24 / -6 )

keep records of the participants' movements, including places they visited and where they sat on public transportation.

This sounds to me like a North Korean style tour guide rather than a free democratic tour travel.

Japan is again showing it’s true skin,with over complicated and draconian rules compared to the modern democracies which it’s leaders want to imitate.

With so many beautiful and exotic destinations around the world why even bother?

i hope this will fail.

8 ( +30 / -22 )

It has been my experience (in Hokkaido) that Japan has seriously regressed and gone back to a 1990- mentality in regards to any and everything foreign since the Covid pandemic started.

5 ( +23 / -18 )

But border restrictions due to COVID-19 mean that currently "everyone needs a visa," according to the Foreign Ministry.

Ok then all countries whose nationals could visit Japan without a visa must ask now in retaliation a visa for all Japanese citizens entering their territory including business travelers. Enough is enough. Japan has been having a free pass for too long now with this circus.

7 ( +25 / -18 )

we have received many inquiries, and interest in traveling to Japan is high," a staff of the company said.

Yes lots of interest but how much will actually translate into people coming after they find out about all the rules they have to follow, the surveillance of where they can go and the severe limits to to those places where they can go. Not to forget all the extra costs they will have to pay for their Japanese minders and for that surveillance.

I think most people would simply drop the idea of Japan on hearing the rubbish they have endure to come here. Hopefully the idea will be a big failure and the government will realise further easing of rules is required sooner than later

2 ( +10 / -8 )

To add to the insult is the fact that such tours are NOT even conducted from many countries. Thus making it virtually impossible still to visit Japan, even if all the prerequisites were completed.

To me it appears as appeasement towards EU especially who has been demanding the lifting of unilateral visa restrictions, when the agreement is for visa-free travel. In that introducing Visa requirements for all is a step in the opposite direction.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

There is a point where micromanagement becomes over complication. I see many Japanese entities crossing this threshold often.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

What is it about the Japanese that makes them think that they are so different, so special compared to everyone else on the planet? They really do think of themselves as a different species.

Yes they do. Anyone whose lived here for anymore than 3 months can attest to it. If there's a simple way and a convuluted way, Japan chooses the latter every time. Everywhere else is dumping test evidence on arrival, so of course Japan does it's own thing.

-4 ( +13 / -17 )

Well if nothing else even before the foreigners arrive they are told of the complicated restrictions.it’s a puzzle that doesn’t fit.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I would like to know how many tourists could actually come in and how many already got a visa at home.

Media announcement is one thing, but what’s the reality

3 ( +6 / -3 )

quote: everyone needs a visa.

Translation: Forget it for at least the next 6-12 months and don't make plans as they may not open up normally at all.

quote: easing border restrictions while rebuilding the country's hospitality industry will prove to be a challenging task.

Other countries seem to be managing OK.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

With these kind of draconian measures in place, who in their right mind would even consider a trip to Japan?

0 ( +20 / -20 )

During the tour itself, the agencies will also keep records of the participants' movements, including places they visited and where they sat on public transportation.

So basically they will need guide while will, well, guide the group and they will also need another “guide” in disguise who will look at the tourist movement. Just like in the certain Asian democratic republic…

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Make it as difficult as possible to come, that’s the big plan. Then nobody comes!

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

If travellers from the uk and the us need a visa to come to Japan on holiday, the country isn’t open yet..

3 ( +12 / -9 )

Tourists should avoid Japan completely until all this nonsense is gone, which will not likely happen until 2023 at the earliest.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

Make it as difficult as possible to come, that’s the big plan. Then nobody comes!

Exactly…tell the world you’re open, but a wink wink to the xenophobic LDP base that none of the nasty filthy foreigners will actually come.

-3 ( +12 / -15 )

A truly pathetic situation. At this rate, the govt here will give the tourist industry here such a bad reputation that it will be destroyed. Such a shame, when Japan has just been voted the most popular destination for overseas trips.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

easing border restrictions while rebuilding the country's hospitality industry will prove to be a challenging task.

Um, no. Require no travel visas from the 68 countries that were allowed visa-free travel before the pandemic. Remove all COVID-related requirements to arrive to Japan. There, I fixed it all for you. Where's the challenge, other than fighting the urge to add more steps, processes, and bureaucracy to everything?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Fact checker, they are taught at school they are different, so it must be true just like everything else they are taught at school.

They use a different side of the brain for language to anyone else. My first Japanese girlfriend many years ago told me they were taught that Japanese were a unique people, had a unique culture and were unique economic animals. I think that is right. It is pretty near anyway. Forgive if I got the quotation wrong as I was told that over 40 years ago.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Yes, Sandoval. They should exchange tips with North Korean tour organizers.

guide the group and they will also need another “guide” in disguise who will look at the tourist movement

The tourists 'requiring a visas' before pandemic were already given 3 to 4 baby-sitters to each group : a Japanese registered guide playing candy crush on her phone (apparently, but maybe reporting to the police ?), a foreign resident translator -doing the guide's job, a driver and in some cases a guide coming from abroad. They were not going around free, they had to stick to schedule, they had to book approved hotels (not the cheapest ones). In each place they'd go, there was staff in charge of tours, putting a hanko, you know like a stamp rally.

Roughly, that tripled the cost (compared to visiting the same places without a "crew").

The agencies were doing profit... but their market was limited to richer tourists of the concerned countries.

Thrown into confusion? Easy to get Japanese confused just change one small thing and utter confusion.

I worked in places that would arrange trips for visitors, including those "requiring a visa" . That's a ton of paper work. Group applications have to be made months in advance. You can't speed up the process.

but what’s the reality

Just like Brexit, the reality is nothing is prepared. The Summer season is "delayed". They can hope a few tours for Autumn leaves. They'll be ready for sakura in 2023.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

If the tourists all need to test negative for Covid before they come, why do the seat locations they sat in on public transport need to be logged? Not just that, but lots of the other restrictions seem a little silly for people who've tested negative...

11 ( +13 / -2 )

using public transport! Wtf doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of limiting the spead. Collosal odiots

0 ( +5 / -5 )

You can't make this up....Good old Japan Red Tape

3 ( +10 / -7 )

If you have to get a negative PCR test 72 hours before flying, who in their right mind would book a ticket weeks beforehand, only to be told they are positive and can't get on the plane? Once you test positive, it can take up to 90 days for the virus to fully leave your system enough to pass another PCR test. An antigen test can take as little as 5 days to clear but the super strict PCR will search for even dead virus cells and therefore register you as positive even though you are zero risk to anybody. (My advice to anybody considering coming to Japan is wait until they drop the PCR requirement or check your cancellation policy very carefully).

The whole thing just seems like pointless gestures just to say something is progressing - it isn't.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

During the tour itself, the agencies will also keep records of the participants' movements, including places they visited and where they sat on public transportation.

Participant raised left hand at 1:43PM. Participant looked to the left at 1:43PM. Participant looked at me 1:44PM...

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Make it as difficult as possible to come, that’s the big plan. Then nobody comes!

Exactly !

The whole thing is more illusion than reality. Like so many things in japan.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

I export a lot of product out of Japan and contribute good amounts of tax. I have ceased all exports and sales and will not carry out any more until this govt opens up completely. These half hearted rules are a joke

2 ( +9 / -7 )

That’s because logic or science wasn’t a factor in this process, just the need to control and add more procedures to justify their existence.

I feel bad for the tourism industry that keeps getting misled and mistreated by the Japan gov.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Make it as difficult as possible to come, that’s the big plan. Then nobody comes!

Exactly…tell the world you’re open, but a wink wink to the xenophobic LDP base that none of the nasty filthy foreigners will actually come.

They've been doing that since Perry. You mean nobody's noticed? There are many insidious ways to exclude others which wear a friendly face and the guise of omotenashi.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Japan isn't really that incredibly dysfunctional and pathetically disorganized.

Or is it ?

It's how Japan says NO and trys to be graceful about it but unfortunately the rest of the world probably doesn't view it that way.

Japanese are different and any opportunities to accentuate that difference has always been difficult to understand.

Honestly why bother coming to Japan the whole thing is frustratingly difficult and probably not worth it.

Its a flip flop sidestepping dithering process to everything here in Japan that can only be described as a mental problem.

Linear thought patterns aren't something commonly found.

Scheduling for anything anytime is always extremely difficult .

Iam not surprised to read about all the confusion about travel to Japan.

They just can't get it together so they'd rather make it too difficult for anyone to come.

Couldn't possibly call Japan an advanced nation because they're too busy going in circles to advance anywhere.

The low crime rate and lack of guns and drugs and good food in Japan is however a nice thing to enjoy while it lasts.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

Make it as difficult as possible to come, that’s the big plan. Then nobody comes!

Exactly !

The whole thing is more illusion than reality. Like so many things in japan.

This is a ridiculous mindset. If they didn't want tourists here, they wouldn't let them in. Of course they want the tourists here, it's a major part of the economy.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

I export a lot of product out of Japan and contribute good amounts of tax. I have ceased all exports and sales and will not carry out any more until this govt opens up completely.

Uh oh, that may collapse the economy. Hopefully the authorities read your post so they can rescue it.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

As much as i would love to visit Japan i will wait until- hopefully- some semblance of sanity returns to this country. My wife is Japanese and we own a condo in Kobe Japan that i have not seen in 2 years. She just returned from a months business visit there and said everyone there is nuts and the citizens have turned into mask wearing sheep afraid of their own shadows! Thats pretty harsh coming from a Japanese citizen but here in America we live in Georgia so she has been used to living like a normal person. All these rules and restrictions are ridiculous and tourists would do just as good to visit North Korea or China with about the same results. Finally, we put the condo up for sale while she was over there and will look at buying another later if i can use it. I miss Japan but not this BS !!

2 ( +8 / -6 )

I'll just wait it out and visit other countries until all these "protocols" simmer down...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I get the feeling they really don't want tourists at all. It's like they've been forced to open to tourists behind the scenes and this is the compromise they could think of.

Japan could never be an international business hub like Singapore, way too insular.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Is anyone surprised by this? Anyone? No? Yep, sounds about right. J-gov went about its usual convoluted, overly-complicated way and this is the end result. I mean to be honest, this whole "reintroducing tourists back to Japan" scheme seems more like a ruse to show the international community that they want to play ball but then they made the rules of playing ball so purposely confusing that the other players dropped out. Japan gets its cake and eats it too - they projected an image of wanting to bring in tourists while at the same time, fulfilling their hidden, actual intention of keeping foreigners out. Welp to their shriveling economy, I guess.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

My wife is visiting her family in Osaka for a few weeks in September. I was seriously thinking of rolling the dice and booking a ticket too in anticipation of the “tour group only” rule going away by then. This article gives me second thoughts. I have a koseki in Japan but haven’t gone through the trouble of getting a spouse visa. I’ve been “randomly” stopped and questioned by the cops in Japan before, so I bet it will be even worse now that they have special rules for tourists.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Rosujin,

The spouse visas they are giving are just labeled "Temporary Visitor" in your passport, which I've heard are the exact same as the tourist visas. The local consulate told me to bring my koseki with me at all times.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

YATTA YATTA!! ITS HAPPENINGU!! I just want to be able to go back to my homeland I don't care if I have to be tracked because NIHON IS OPENINGU!!

-16 ( +0 / -16 )

The problem is assuming Japan is doing this to benefit the tourists or the industries that benefit from tourism in the first place. In reality making ever-changing, confusing rules appears to be part of the design so it can be said that Japan is allowing tourists even if it is practically impossible to comply with the regulations.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@SyaoranDC,

Thanks for the heads up. I think I might be able to fit into the special visa exception category of “Spouse of a Japanese National.” I’ll have to look at some flights!

Are they treating foreigners any worse than usual these days?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So the draconian measures had the desired effect....No one wants to come to Japan AKA Nth Korea under the current system!

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Sitting outside,in a more or less deserted onsen bath yesterday, it felt like Japan had regressed a hundred years.

Several years ago,I could only hear foreign languages-what a difference!

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

These measures should be reciprocated by other countries for travelers from Japan… it would take about three days for the government to drop this lunacy.

Japan seems to actively trying to be a complete joke in the world.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Murphy's Law lives on in Japan.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

when left hand have no idea about actions of right ones.

no tourists will come here under these conditions.our neigbours will grab them easy/Korea,Taiwan,etc/.

very contraproductive measures from my point of vie.potential tourists will spend money in another country.

i am not surprised at all.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

My pet peeve is the use of the word "ask", as in "The government will ask all tourists to wear masks and get health insurance." They aren't asking, they are ordering! Asking implies choice. I am pretty sure that tourists on these groups who choose not to wear masks would be scolded pronto. Ditto for insurance. Can't see anyone allowed to enter without it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If things stay like this I'll be cancelling my holiday in October/November. I don't do guided tours, never needed a visa, and insurance against Covid... it's really not worth the red tape.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

With all of the fuss that they are making, you would think that Japan had never seen a tourist before!

They stand little chance of achieving their goal of 60 million tourists each year by 2030, people will just go to more tourist-friendly places.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

In my opinion, there was WAS a time to be very careful. Back when there were no vaccines or treatments. But those times are over. Everyone who wants to be vaccinated can access one and there are effective theraputics for people who do actually get sick.

There is a great deal of demand for travel around the world (I know that I am ready to get out after 2. 5 years or so of being basically in one place), and the inbound travelers could really help local economies. But international travelers have a choice and will vote with their feet to areas with more reasonable safety measures.

It's time to return a more normal immigration and tourism stance.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan is the only country in the world to become out with such a non sense. !. I understand that if you are tested covid positive, they are also no clear guideline what will happen to you. Anyone want to take risk !

4 ( +5 / -1 )

More problems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just wearing your mask in your hotel room should be enough,shouldn’t it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder how many percent of the locals really want foreign tourists.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I live in Japan and am currently on a vacation in Palau and Guam. COVID is not such a serious threat that draconian measures are necessary. Masks are off on United airlines after leaving Narita. Covid tests are not necessary before entering the US and only an antigen test is needed for Palau. At this stage in history, the nutcakes running the Japanese govt. should require vaccination cards for tourists entering the country and leave it at that. Possibly an antigen test. People recognize that Covid testing is straining the budgets of those who need to travel and putting a stop to those who would go on vacation. If and when it becomes necessary to close borders again it can be done. But why does Japan insist on refusing to change when change is necessary?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese used to be out of step with the world back in the bubble era too but it was accepted due to trade opportunities.

Now, the economy is dire and there are other more promising places which have many hoops but offer more opportunity.

Which would you choose as a base or a vacation?

Read between the lines and see that Japan just doesn’t want foreigners visiting the country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am Japanese and American, tourism is a vital part of the economy and everyone should be welcomed. Remember the phrase "Omotenashi!" Bring that back. As far as the Japanese government is concerned, they are clueless so do not expect any practical solutions from these muppets! What happened to GO TO TRAVEL!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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