FILE PHOTO: Visitors stroll at Kiyomizu-dera temple, a popular attraction among tourists, in Kyoto
Visitors stroll at Kiyomizu-dera temple, a popular attraction among tourists, in Kyoto, on June 18. Photo: Reuters/Satoshi Sugiyama
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Japan set to waive some visa requirements in October to boost tourism: Nikkei

66 Comments

Japan is expected to waive visa requirements for certain tourists and remove a limit on daily arrivals in October as it aims to benefit from a rebound in global tourism, Nikkei reported on Thursday.

Following the change, Japan will not require visas for short-term travelers from the United States and certain other countries, and will scrap the daily entry cap of 50,000 people, the media outlet said.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to announce the changes in the coming days, the report said.

With the yen languishing near a 24-year low against the dollar, owing to a hawkish U.S. Federal Reserve, the Japanese government could benefit from capitalizing on the increased buying power of tourists by easing travel requirements, the report added.

Japan last week raised the daily ceiling of inbound travelers to 50,000 from 20,000, and eliminated a requirement for pre-departure COVID tests, easing what have been among the most restrictive border measures among major economies.

Before the pandemic, Japan did not require tourist visas for 68 countries and regions.

© Thomson Reuters 2022.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

66 Comments
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Hopefully Canada! Would love to visit my son.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

So, ‘certain tourists’ will be able to enter Japan?

I would not be holding onto the thought of visiting Japan anytime soon this yearns a tourist.

Personally, I would enjoy Thailand with its laid back feel and most importantly, only the need for a negative PCR test or a double vaccination which most people have already, in contrast to Japan that needs 3 or whatever arbitrary number is rolled out …

-21 ( +13 / -34 )

By the way, feeling really discourage, almost 3 years since I last saw him!!

10 ( +18 / -8 )

Tourists will NOT turn around this economy. Their input to the economy will be a drop in the bucket compared to the waste through ignorant government management.

19 ( +29 / -10 )

Vivian, it has been 3 years since I last saw her as well. We stayed in touch but this was not right and not our fault.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

@travelbagaijin Thankyou for your answer,I hope you keep hope and good spirits too.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

So 1). VISA FREE ENTRY for USA citizens...and other countries.... 2). NO tour groups...enter alone...BUY your own ticket.....

3). Currently IS THERE A COVID TEST REQUIREMENT TO BOARD ANY FLIGHT TO JAPAN ????

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

Japan's infection measures are still poor despite many deaths.

-10 ( +10 / -20 )

Waiving visas won’t boost the economy much. Even before the pandemic, foreign tourism accounted for less than one percent of Japan’s GDP.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Japan set to waive

> > Kishida is expected to announce the changes in the coming days

prepare to fast forward. Fast forward……

how about, just do it and announce it today and it’ll be done?

Just wasting time, as usual.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

@denny: Pre flight PCR OR proof of having being vaxxed + boosted (so 3 shots). Obviously much easier if vaxxed + boosted. And yes, they recognise proof of tax from other countries as long as its in some proper format. I don't think that is going to change for a while. Much like non citizens / non residents need proof of vax to enter the US.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

Tourism is a source of foreign currency.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Anyone know what “other countries” don’t need visas? Can’t seem to find it.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Waiving visas won’t boost the economy much. Even before the pandemic, foreign tourism accounted for less than one percent of Japan’s GDP.

It is true that foreign tourism accounts for a relatively small percentage of Japan's GDP. However, why would the Japanese government and many cities so hell-bent on promoting tourism before the pandemic if it is peanuts to their economy?

Tourists directly inject money into the local economy. Especially the economies in some city, eg Kyoto.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Maybe, but in some areas like Kyoto, Nikko, etc., it's a much larger amount. Much of Japan's GDP is weighted by Tokyo.

Waiving visas won’t boost the economy much. Even before the pandemic, foreign tourism accounted for less than one percent of Japan’s GDP.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I'm sorry, querying why I have been downvoted a question with clarity.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

*answering a question

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

3). Currently IS THERE A COVID TEST REQUIREMENT TO BOARD ANY FLIGHT TO JAPAN ????

….

It depends on where you are coming from.

Japan color codes countries and entry requirements for some are more difficult than for others.

Requirements are constantly changing but a negative PCR test is the standard for entry in most cases.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

And yes, they recognise proof of tax from other countries as long as its in some proper format.

@Danny,

Yes, and additional, please investigate and make sure that the vaccination proof of the country you are coming from is in a format which is accepted by Japan.

My Co-worker came from South Africa, 3x vaccinated over there, had proper and clear certificates, but the certificates were not accepted from Japan.

Luckily he asked the airline in advance if his certificates are accepted by Japan, and they said, not from South Africa.

Before he left South Africa, he needed a PCR test.

But that was before Sept. 7th, 2022. So I am not sure about the current situation.

But better double check it before you go to the airport without PCR test.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Denny.

3). Currently IS THERE A COVID TEST REQUIREMENT TO BOARD ANY FLIGHT TO JAPAN ????

The answer is no.

The PCR test requirement was dropped on Sept 7th.

I flew in from Aus on that day without a test.

However the MySOS app is still needed.

gary

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Provide an economic incentive, and they will come. A stronger dollar makes coming to Japan super attractive, too. The cracks in the Kishida government’s fiscal policies have finally hit rock bottom. Japan has depended on a tourism economy for a decades now. What did they think was going to happen by keeping strict border controls? The airlines and hotels have been severely crippled. I hope these measures will stabilize the yen. However, little has changed in fiscal policies in 30 years.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

What about the not needing to book your trip through a travel agency part?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

So boost tourism, after the autumn leaf viewing time when it gets really cold.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

United States and certain other countries

Couldn't be bothered to provide a list in this article or is there something to hide?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

With the dropping of the daily cap, the scrapping of the tourist group requirement and the cheap (dirt cheap) yen, we might actually get a pretty substantial economic boost from inbound tourism.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Viviane BoToday  07:08 am JST

Hopefully Canada! Would love to visit my son.

Family members can get a visa right now to come here.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Visas

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

https://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/index.html

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I see nothing here about allowing in independent tourists. And what does “certain countries” mean?

Japan is screwing up big-time here.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

Japan set to waive some visa requirements in October to boost tourism: Nikkei

I'm not holding my breath- neither for Japan to waive some visa requirements nor for boosting tourism.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Waiving visas won’t boost the economy much. Even before the pandemic, foreign tourism accounted for less than one percent of Japan’s GDP.

Well said!

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

Waiving visas won’t boost the economy much. Even before the pandemic, foreign tourism accounted for less than one percent of Japan’s GDP.

In the spirit of open debate, I will grant this point. I would counter that between 2013 (when I first started paying attention to it) and 2019 the number of in-bound tourists absolutely exploded.

As I recall (but I cannot site any sources. Apologies) before the pandemic, Japan was on track to pull in around 40 million tourists for the year. That's a lot of people and they spend a fair amount of money when they are here. (Side note: I was once in a duty free shop in Akiba buying a region-free DVD player when a tour bus from China pulled up. The resulting buying spree and the aftermath could be compared to a hoard of locusts descending upon a field of ripe wheat. It was truly a site to behold. I asked the clerk "Does that happen often?" He smiled, and said "4 times a week!")

I will accept that in the aggregate, that might not be a huge amount of overall GDP. However, in certain focused industries - travel, tourism, hospitality, food service, etc. it would make a substantial difference.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Correct Aly - Early morning annoyance :)

There's enough info about overnight through the reliable (i.e. Government mouthpieces), that visa waiver will return and the daily cap removed, maybe from Oct 11th after the long weekend. Its telling that many airlines have now reinstated routes AND are returning to larger planes on many routes from the winter schedule which begins on the 30th October. I stick by my prediction that the SOS app remains in its now much streamlined form with the choice or a Pre-Flight PCR OR being Triple Vaxxed.

I know many people who have travelled in the last month and with a little prep, they are off the plane and through immigration/customs in pre covid times

4 ( +8 / -4 )

'super left/liberal'

(I wouldn’t say that. Just don’t say anything proRussia/China and praise USA and Ukraine you will be fine. being anti-vaccine is a fine line.)

as long tourist pass a PCR test before boarding the plane to Japan, independant travelers should allowed. It’s not like the viruses are not here already.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Who are "certain tourists"? Those willing to spend their entire vacation following some lady wearing a bowler hat and carrying a flag around? Best of luck with, Japan. Nobody wants to take one of those crappy vacations.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

@CaptDingleheimer: You clearly don't read things properly. I think most countries in the current blue zone that has visa waiver status pre March 2020 will have it restored. No group tours. No 'travel agent only' No 'crappy' vacations.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The is a good blog providing the latest visa requirements in simple language.

Inside Kyoto

https://www.insidekyoto.com/can-i-travel-to-japan-now

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I see nothing here about allowing in independent tourists. And what does “certain countries” mean?

I means blonde and blue-eyed tourists... I see a lot of them recently roaming around my work area because it's a tourist ground. They don't wear masks and are very casual looking.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

By the way, Kyoto was sooooooooo dead when I went there for a business trip. It's like a Covid patient in an oxygen tank.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Who are "certain tourists"? Those willing to spend their entire vacation following some lady wearing a bowler hat and carrying a flag around? Best of luck with, Japan. Nobody wants to take one of those crappy vacations.

Sadly, older Korean, Taiwanese, and Chinese people do like those trips. :x

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The US is always catered to first. no matter what. Think about that for a moment.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Came in from Thailand on the 7th—no MySos app required but a negative PCR test was required.

For me a PCR test is required as

I won’t take any more useless injections as I want a fully functional immune system in the future.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

@factchecker: I don't think there is anything to hide. There were 68 countries that qualified for visa waiver travel before Covid hit. If they are in the Blue Zone at present I'd bet they are restored as such .Unless you think a short news article needs to list them all before an official announcement has even been made!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The demand for 3 "vaccine" shots is still in place. This will deter most people from going to Japan.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

@tora

Who should Japan cater to first? Where are you from?

@Japan Violet

Negative test works as well.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Currently IS THERE A COVID TEST REQUIREMENT TO BOARD ANY FLIGHT TO JAPAN ????

The answer is no. The PCR test requirement was dropped on Sept 7th. I flew in from Aus on that day without a test. However the MySOS app is still needed.

The negative PCR test requirement was only dropped for those who’ve received three (approved type) injections. With zero scientific justification, those who haven’t been jabbed are required to waste time and money for an essentially worthless negative PCR test result obtained up to 72 hours BEFORE they boarded their flight to Japan. Both before and during the flight they can easily be infected by someone who’s had the three jabs but, like a number of my acquaintances, has been reinfected with Covid, but no longer needs to be tested on account of having received the jabs.

It saves time but is not mandatory to have the MySOS preinstalled. You can do it AFTER landing. They have staff at the first check point on arrival who will talk you through the procedure of uploading the questionnaire (via QR code) and answering the questions.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The staff at Kansai nicely inputted my data which was considerate of them!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Its thanks to majority of the world who got vaccinated that covid is on the way out. The 20%'ers with thier endless excuses not to get jabbed (not talking about the 1% with legitiment issues preventing them from getting it) will still complain for eternity that they were 'right all along'

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

This is great news. Far more people will be coming and it will help many people's businesses.

It won't affect people who are not vaxxed or refuse to do a PCR test, but that's a small minority and who cares about them. They should own their choices. Most people in the world can't afford a plane or boat ticket and they can't come either.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

There is no scientific basis for any of these travel restrictions.

We can therefore assume the government is merely carrying out what their polling is telling them.

Hence the xenophobic sentiment of the policies in place.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

@kohakuebisu

Far more people will be coming

Absolutely, and I'm happy about the announcement. Realistically it's not really hard to have "far more people", given that it's almost zero right now. I'm also pretty sure it will not make a huge dent for the economy in the short term. Post-covid, people are still reluctant to fly, flight tickets are still very expensive from Europe (due to a certain autocrat taking his country off the fly-over map), and the main source of tourists with big wallets -- China -- will not be partaking. But still, this is a necessary step toward restoring Japan's touristic standing, which at the moment is pretty much as bad as it can be.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Also let's keep in mind that Japan has emphatically demonstrated that its visa policies can change on a dime. I'm old enough to remember the Great Three Week Border Opening of November 2021.

For many tourists Japan is still an expensive "once in a lifetime" proposition with months of pre-planning. They won't do it on shaky grounds, they are quite willing to wait. I wouldn't bet on tourists immediately flooding the gates once (and if) the visa waiver program is being reinstated.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

its very naive that tourists from abroad will come here from "paradise" with full pockets of money.look around you and consider abt situation worldwide abt peoples lives earnings and economy.

dont expect hordes of rich foreigners overloaded with cash.

situation is still very unclear so better wait for official info from jp gov.abt what countries will get visa,what are conditions for travellers/if must be vaccinated,how abt tests if need and who will pay for it,if can come as individual tourist or must be in "group"/-its crucial to know.than may be possible to plan any trips to Japan.

as now better to wait more.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

United States and certain other countries

Gotta love the American-centric reporting from the Nikkei. Last time I checked Japan had visa-waiver agreements with more than 60 countries.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@Eastman: Yes - better to wait more. But its the same two 'sources' (Kyodo and Nikkei) who have this info as they have done upon every easy of restrictions.

So - I stick by that. Previous countries who had visa waiver status and in 'blue' group of countries, FULL restoration of independent travel - BUT the SOS app retained with the same entry conditions. Pre Flight PCR OR Three times vaxxed.

Throw my hat in the ring and say 11th October start date,

No - I don't expect hordes of tourists, BUT the fact the airlines have already announced a very large rise in capacity from the Winter Schedules, shows the intent is there.

Frankly, anybody who really wants to visit here isn't going the find the prospect of a PCR test pre journey that daunting and demographics would indicate that they are more likely to be vaxxed in any case- as has been shown by income level/vax status worldwide. These are the people who are more likely to recognise how sensible it was to get jabbed in the first place.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Yes El Rata: 68.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan is still and will be the recipient of mostly Asian tourists in the future.

Will they come from outside Asia?

Most likely not.

Testing positive for Covid in Japan means either no care or an enforced quarantine of a week and large medical bills and the priospect of not getting a flight home after.

Who would really want to risk all that before getting back to work with massive jet lag?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

and @Eastman - It may be barely relevant to the Japanese economy, but with Yen where it is, Japan is suddenly a very affordable destination for Americans and Europeans- many of who DO have deep pockets. Retail will have to take a back seat until the Chinese can move freely again. The Rusians I'm afraid, will NOT be returning anytime soon.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

but with Yen where it is, Japan is suddenly a very affordable destination for Americans and Europeans

Once you are here on Japanese soil, yes. The recent drop between JPY and US$ is nice for US-Americans, it is not as pronounced between the JPY and the Euro. But all things considered, Japan hasn't been particularly expensive for western tourists in the last two decades anyway. Certainly not as expensive as people think, especially if you are willing and able to eschew the Hilton and prepackaged tours.

But getting here is currently the expensive problem to solve.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Roy - Airfares have begun to decline already.

I booked a return to Europe two weeks ago, for mid October that was quite a bit cheaper than the same dates had been priced just 2 weeks prior to my booking. Reasoning? Midweek, for sure, but also an upgrade from 787 to 777 on that route/day. Also, my colleague flight for his mother ex-Europe (also for October) - and the fare was not unreasonable for the class at all. Not saying its cheap, but its getting 'better'. No, you are correct, Euro/Yen has not moved quite so dramatically. but when you factor in that hotel prices in Europe have gone up on average 38% (on average! in local currency) and prices here are flat then it really is a lot more reasonable.

Russian airspace to Europe isn't going to be open anytime soon - the airlines will have to adapt. With the removal of visa waiver and no cap they will WANT to get bums on seats again and can start filling the back of the bus again, whilst gaining more biz class capacity with larger equipment.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Too late... I cancelled my holiday.

There will probably still be some restrictions... they haven't mentioned independent travellers not needing to book through a travel agency.

I'll probably rebook in the winter for late spring (Golden Week)... and find that airline tickets have gone through the roof

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wow! Just in time for winter. No thanks. If I bother returning to Japan it will be for next year's hanami.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@tora

Who should Japan cater to first?

How about countries that have dealt with the crisis better than the US has? There are plenty. I was also just observing that whenever any major policy shift takes place, America always way up on the list.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

An actually noticeable step in the right direction, unlike many previous announcements. It was starting to become comical and hard to take seriously, much like the State of Emergencies last year under Suga.

If it comes down to tourists needing to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test, ultimately that is a pointless and obnoxious requirement, but at least anyone who wants to travel here without a visa could have the opportunity to do so.

However, one serious problem remains: for Japanese nationals and foreign residents, there is absolutely no reason to continue requiring PCR tests or proof of vaccination. And for the love of God streamline the entry process. Returning to Haneda last month was a nightmare, and we practically walked around in a circle for an hour showing staff our Blue app screens. Enough. Follow the London-Heathrow model. Automate what you can. It should be a twenty minute process maximum, then baggage claim and out of there.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Alright already…. I’m long overdue for an Onsen trip.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Very well Japan, soon you will be back to normal...

If you don't like it, there are other countries...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I entered the country through Narita the other day, first time here since late 2019 (here visiting my wife's family). I couldn't believe how dead the place was. Most of the people getting off my flight seemed to be funneled into the area for connecting flights to elsewhere in Asia. The baggage claim area was nearly empty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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