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Japan aims to remove daily arrival cap in October to spur tourism

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Bit of a stretch to say "Japan has faced criticism at home" regarding the inbound tourism. The Japanese at large have supported closed borders. PM Kishida even took it as a continued policy in the July elections and voters gave him their blessing.

-2 ( +31 / -33 )

Here's the whole post for convenience:

Isn't it a reality that Japan was leading the world in infections last month?

That's a bit of an ad-lib and beside the point. A big-step to the side of my point and what you are actually implying to which I was replying, but I will reply anyway because I like you. 

To summarise; I mentioned "exaggeration and hyperbole" referring to you saying (again) 

Japan's no-plan approach turned into a disaster.

Nothing new in your daily comment, just the same sensational opinions BTW. But You did use the past tense suggesting things are ok now but that is just semantics and typo in your part I presume. 

To my point. It is well known that Japan has done quite well and hasn't needed to bully and beat the population into getting proper sustainable good results. The vaccination programme is responsible for this success by and large and that is another fact. 

Talking of "no-approach plan and disasters". China is a good study:

Sept. 10-12 is China's mid-autumn festival, the country's second-most important holiday. The anti-virus measures have taken a major toll on the economy, travel and society in general during this time, but China's ruling Communist Party says they are necessary to prevent a wider spread of the virus, because of an ineffective vaccination program that has been ineffective since 18 months ago at least. No action to sort that vaccine problem out. 

Thats a disaster and crime against humanity. 

Since the outbreak began, China has placed tens of millions of people under lockdowns that have been ruthlessly applied, sometimes preventing residents from obtaining food, health care and basic necessities and escaping earthquakes 

That's a disaster and is sick 

A more-than five-week closure of Shanghai, China's largest city and key financial hub, upended the local economy, prompted protests and led to an exodus of foreign residents. 

Another eye-watering avoidable disaster. 

Japan is responding to the pandemic and modifying its approach. Borders opening new vaccine due etc. China isn't. How many lockdowns have there been? Why are they necessary? How's it's vaccine program doing? How many more lockdowns? Can people travel? That's the no-approach you mean 

The good news is Things will change in China after the big meeting next month. We'll talk again then. Until then, stay golden and keep the post- rate up. It's great fun.

16 ( +27 / -11 )

Japan missing out on a lot of revenue from shutting tourists out. Surprised there is not more outcry from business given so many businesses in Japan do well out of tourists, least of all the govt getting 10% consumption tax on most of what tourists spend (they will also get plenty of excise tax from all the beer I will drink when I am next in Japan)

22 ( +29 / -7 )

Hate to break it to you Japan, but you have not kept Covid in check in the past couple months while being closed to foreign travelers.

Stop dog whistling about foreigners being responsible for spreading Covid!

21 ( +51 / -30 )

All the countermeasures in place didn’t stop Japan from leading the world in Covid cases the past few months. This includes. Masks, strict border measures, social distancing, hand sanitizer at every entrance, temp checks everywhere, and no cheering at sporting events. Please tell what they plan to keep in place that actually serves a purpose other than theatre and virtue signaling.

4 ( +33 / -29 )

Hate to break it to you Japan, but you have not kept Covid in check in the past couple months while being closed to foreign travelers.

> Stop dog whistling about foreigners being responsible for spreading Covid!

This is a great point.

9 ( +31 / -22 )

Why am I not surprised. By this continued ineptitude?

Some say over 90% of the population have now been infected. Latest variants are some of the most virulent ever. You ain't stopping nothin' especially since japanese and residents are able to freely travel anywhere they like, without restrictions on reentry.

Might as well put measures in to keep foreigners from bringing in the common flu.

-3 ( +22 / -25 )

@Akula

Japan missing out on a lot of revenue from shutting tourists out.

That's the problem though, that is only the international perception which is not backed up by data. In 2019 (the last full pre-pandemic year) the entire tourism sector accounted for a mere 0.96% of the GDP, and only 19% of that is attributed to foreign tourism.

Japan certainly wants the perception of a tourist destination, but by all measures Japan certainly does not depend on foreign tourism in any meaningful way.

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

Covid is rife all over Japan.

Quarantining negative test returnees, yet at the same time allowing trains and buses in major cities to be run at 200% capacity is a completely cockhanded approach to repressing viral spread..

Japanese politicians talk about ‘countermeasures’ without having an inkling of what is necessary.

And yes, I caught Covid on a night sans mask in Japan; not abroad where I had spent almost a year uninfectedkeep up the useless border controls though…..

-9 ( +17 / -26 )

The Japanese government said Monday it must strike a balance between opening up to foreign travelers while keeping the coronavirus pandemic in check,....

So keeping foreigners out keeps the pandemic in check? One look at the numbers shows that's a load of rubbish!

7 ( +21 / -14 )

I love arriving at an airport where all check-in gates are shut. That means I can just go home.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I have to correct myself, not to be accused of mishandling the data:

In 2019 (the last full pre-pandemic year) the entire tourism sector accounted for a mere 0.96% of the GDP, and only 19% of that is attributed to foreign tourism.

That 0.96% is the foreign tourism. Sorry, the sources are structured a bit weird. In total, the entire tourism sector makes up just a hair more than 5%. So, to put the numbers straight:

4.09% of the GDP is domestic spending on tourism (81%)

0.96% of the GDP is foreign spending on tourism (19%)

These 0.96% of the GDP is what we are talking about. And yes, I am fully aware that it is not nothing, far from it. One in a hundred enterprises here depend on it. But in the grand scheme it seems to be a bearable cost for the government here.

This also explains two things: Firstly, the push for domestic tourism -- the "go to travel" programs -- launched to international bewilderment. Domestic tourism is literally four times as important as foreign tourism, and with a little push can even make up the deficit in foreign tourism. And secondly, naturally, the reluctance to open the borders while riding the latest wave's crest up until some ten days ago.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Keeping covid in check? That just isn’t true. Highest numbers globally at the moment, can’t blame in on foreigners now.

3 ( +20 / -17 )

The Japanese government said Monday it must strike a balance between opening up to foreign travelers while keeping the coronavirus pandemic in check,

Glad the Japanese government has an approach up its sleeve. Not perfect some might say but If we look at a neighbour across the sea. China is attempting to entirely stamp out Covid outbreaks, claiming this is necessary to prevent wider surges of the virus which could overwhelm hospitals.

The reason?

The multiple extended lockdowns come ahead of the National Party Congress in mid-October - a once-in-five-years event that will see top political members gather for the first time since the pandemic struck. 

Party officials are under immense pressure to make sure the event runs smoothly, and even small clusters of Covid are seen as a threat.

China's anti-coronavirus policies have gone badly wrong, thanks mainly to the fact that the Chinese vaccines are not very effective. So, while in Japan the risk of severe illness or death from catching the coronavirus has declined dramatically, that is much less true in China. 

Worse thing is, China has no approach. No modifications of past policy. No Learn from experience and see what others are doing. Just lockdown to save face.

Definitely an example of "no-approach".

4 ( +10 / -6 )

The Japanese government continues to paint this false image of maskless foreigners polluting the country with COVID. Yes, people are interacting maskless in huge masses in large cities around the world. But the COVID rates in those cities are far lower than those of Japan’s large cities.

-1 ( +16 / -17 )

Nobody's comparing now the number of tests or testing protocols here and abroad, only mentions case counts, odd.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Balance what? What can possibly do anything to stop the spread of the virus?

Sanitiser? - debunked in 2020

Plastic screens in restaurants? - Actually means less air circulation and more likely to assist spread of an airborne virus

Masks? - Not worn in bars, restaurants, onsens, etc. Haven't prevented record case numbers. And cloth masks are ubiquitous anyway - uniqlo still selling them I see. So why keep them? They are not doing anything but harm.

Border controls? How has that any impact? Look at Thailand to compare notes before realizing it has no impact on numbers and just harmed the economy.

Social distancing? - There are in excess of 35million people in the Tokyo area alone. Good luck.

Anything else?

-7 ( +14 / -21 )

As someone that no longer lives in Japan, is it really true that Coronavirus is rampant all over Japan and that Japan has the highest infection rates in the world???!

1 ( +13 / -12 )

And that photo warning to to remove protective gear before going though customs is so late 2019 Wuhan-isk!

Japan is trying to doscourage us even before we get to the customs area.

I for one am NOT removing my hazmat suit. That's the only thing stopping me from getting the Covid!

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

at snail speed.....even NZ may be open fully and even non vaccinated people may visit sooner than LDP bosses will have their friday meaningless "meetings"...

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Forget it. Project fear worked better in Japan than anywhere else. There will be tonnes of restrictions that only apply to tourists to discourage you from actually going. Note the use of 'foreign travellers' rather than 'tourists'. The T-word is presumably banned. It would be several years and a change of PM before Japan could become a tourist option again, if ever. If I'm honest, I don't think it will. Show's over, folks. Pick somewhere else.

-7 ( +14 / -21 )

The Japanese government said Monday it must strike a balance between opening up to foreign travelers while keeping the coronavirus pandemic in check.

let’s see, number of individual foreign tourists: zero, maybe 1

number of Japanese citizens with corona: about 200k-1M?

how will you balance these numbers?

Sit the tourists in a locked room with corona patients for a couple of hours a day?

-3 ( +12 / -15 )

Having run inbound mountain hiking and walking tours in Japan for 20 years, I'm looking forward to the borders reopening soon.

I believe the government's policy is wrong. I also suspect that one reason tour operators are currently required to submit tour information and personal details to the authorities is so they can get hold of and data which might otherwise not be available to them.

I, and other travel professionals who have been in the business in Japan for a long time, think conventional package tours simply aimed at boosting numbers is neither sustainable, nor appropriate, for Japan. This is an opportunity to rethink the future of the type of inbound travel market which might best benefit local communities in rural and mountain areas. There is so much unrealized potential here.

However, I doubt whether anything much will change. The whole Visit Japan campaign and the subsequent boom was largely built on enterprising small and medium size tour operator overseas who came knocking on the door 20 or more years ago, when I found that many Japanese were surprised that overseas visitors were actually interested in discovering Japan!

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Most of the Japanese public will be upset to see large numbers of foreign tourists in their midst. This is what the government is trying to respond to.

This reminds me of the World Cup debate over foreign hooliganism, and all the Japanese police riot squads that were deployed on the streets (but never used).

-10 ( +11 / -21 )

The japanese government only say can enter Japan after 3 doses of vaccination BUT watch out. They only recognised the vaccine stated in their list of approved vaccine. Their approved list of vaccine is NOT the same as the list of vaccine approved by WHO. Check before you booked to fly to Japan or else you end up having to do a 72 hours Pre-departure negative test.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Not a word about what those "countermeasures" are. Japan's make it up as you go policy will continue, it seems. Or this is just a message to the "concerned" voters fearing seeing foreigners in the streets again.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

That's the problem though, that is only the international perception which is not backed up by data. In 2019 (the last full pre-pandemic year) the entire tourism sector accounted for a mere 0.96% of the GDP, and only 19% of that is attributed to foreign tourism.

Japan certainly wants the perception of a tourist destination, but by all measures Japan certainly does not depend on foreign tourism in any meaningful way.

Yes - but it is still a material number. The key with consumption taxes and so on that tourists pay is that the government doesn't really need to do much if anything for those tourists in return.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Translation: We have no plan but will ease border controls based on our "feeling" while telling the people we are balancing countermeasures, which is actually not possible because our only countermeasures were the border control measures themselves!

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Japan has faced criticism at home and abroad for failing to keep pace with other Group of Seven nations in opening borders as well as requiring those who do visit to obtain visas and wear masks at all times during their trip.

Abroad, sure - at home, definitely not. Jimin voting racists are loving not having to put up with non Japanese.

As for masks, it's not illegal to not wear one - anywhere, so get stuffed with that.

I've noticed the same stock photo gets used whenever there's about to be a change in policy.

-6 ( +12 / -18 )

Note the use of 'foreign travellers' rather than 'tourists'. The T-word is presumably banned

They used foreign travellers presumably because they meant foreign travellers.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Complete fallacy.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The government is planning to allow independent tourists to come to Japan and exempt them from visas if they have been vaccinated three times or submit a pre-arrival test result, Fuji TV reported Monday. It also intends to abolish the daily arrival cap, which is currently set at 50,000, the report added.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/09/12/national/border-independent-tourists-visa-waiver/

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Totally making this up as they go along. I don’t see how a statistically insignificant number of foreign visitors can possibly negatively impact Japan’s Covid situation, especially when they can simply mandate that visitors wear masks and take other precautions as a condition for issuing a visa. Something they’re not doing for 125 million Japanese residents. At least they seem to be moving forward.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Ditch it with the ridiculous booster requirements, too.

For once, I would like to see governments base their decisions on actual facts. The vaccination does not influence transmission, and a foreign government couldn't care less if a tourist has a severe case of Covid or not.

As many as 50% of people in most Western countries chose not to get a booster vaccination. Do you want to exclude 50% of tourists?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The requirement for "Vaccination" is turning out to be a false premise - look at the US President as an example of that... The real Truth will come out eventually (perhaps), but no such restriction should be in-place - regardless whether "vaccinated" or not, people should be allowed to visit.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

October!

Oh “end of” October.

never mind then

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Just in time for winter! Frankly, I'd rather ski Louise. Sunshine. Breckenridge. Mammoth. Or, as I'm already committed, visit Argentina in their summer.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Japan missed its opportunity with tourism.

Now, with global inflation esp. air tickets, they may not find millions of tourists eager to spend their savings in a trip to Japan.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Bit of a stretch to say "Japan has faced criticism at home" regarding the inbound tourism. The Japanese at large have supported closed borders. PM Kishida even took it as a continued policy in the July elections and voters gave him their blessing.

And he is changing the policy and that is why his approval ratings are falling and he will soon be gone.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

I believe the government's policy is wrong

It supported by the vast majority of Japanese people. Do you understand?

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

So my Japanese wife can travel to Japan from Australia, stay where she wants, travel where she wants, not wear a mask if she wants but I have to book airfares and hotel accommodation for each night through a travel agent and apply for a visa..... We're both double boosted so then why am I considered such a greater risk?

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Raising entry permissions to draw tourists at this point is analogous to a movie theater owner who can't get customers to fill the theater putting extra in seating capacity hoping that will help.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Raising entry permissions to draw tourists at this point is analogous to a movie theater owner who can't get customers to fill the theater putting extra in seating capacity hoping that will help.

Spot on analogy. Yesterday the report said that they would lift the visa and travel agency requirements at the same time as the cap. I hope they are not now backtracking on that. If they don't do those things, then lifting the cap will be meaningless because nowhere near enough people will be coming to get near the cap anyway.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

“ Japan aims to remove daily arrival cap in October to spur tourism “

“ Japan is aiming to remove its cap on daily arrivals by the end of October, government sources said Monday, as it looks to revive the world's third-largest economy hit hard by the absence of tourists amid the coronavirus pandemic. As Japan's economy has shown few signs of a robust recovery, Kishida's government has been trying to accelerate growth by inviting more foreign visitors, who now stand to benefit from the Japanese yen's rapid depreciation. “

ahem… Excuse me;

so it’s all about their money, as expected; the J-g doesn’t give a d-mn about these tourists, people who respect Japanese culture and just wanna (peacefully) visit the country; “ we have to let them (these foreigners) in; shouganai ne “.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Japan MUST return to the VISA FREE STATUS for 90 days stay..ALL other major countries HAVE...for those countries for which it is authorized...This madness of applying to an embassy for a visa is time consuming and restrictive...BACK TO VISA FREE TRAVEL....Japan is so far behind everyone else..

3 ( +12 / -9 )

Just hilarious.

If the people whining nonstop all this time had applied for a visa last week they might have got it by this time already.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

At present Japan doesn't want a deluge of tourists, that is why there is a cap.

If Japan reinstates visa free travel without removing the cap or raising it appreciably they would just be inviting more trouble.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I never wore the protective clothing such the one in the picture. I have only seen a few Chinese travelers wearing that.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

So?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's not the cap that is a big deal, at least not yet.

The biggest issue of course is the J-government's insistence on using specific travel agencies to book your trip as well as get a visa. Despite the regulation being changed from fully guided to self guided tours, you still need to book a specific travel package through an agency just to be able to get the visa. And one needs to provide a full itinerary on day to day activities to the travel agency while in Japan.

No thanks!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Japan is truly tourist and visitor friendly country.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Excellent! First the cap goes. Then the requirement to come as part of an organised group. And then I can finally return. Yippee!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

time to open the doors , Kishida , lets revive the economy

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan's economy in the April-June period recovered to its pre-pandemic size, with an annualized 3.5 percent growth from a quarter earlier, but analysts said the outlook remains gloomy as a resurgence of infections and rising costs could weigh on consumer spending.

Japan's economy has suffered greatly from their government's inability to handle the Covid crisis at any stage.

In contrast to China, which at least has the lowest infection rate in the world while being the only country with positive economic growth.

Japan aims to remove daily arrival cap in October to spur tourism

There go the good 'ole days.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@Jeremy Rigby Since you have close Japanese family, you have been eligible to travel to Japan for over a year. You just need to work with your closest Japanese consulate to get a visa.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hopefully the end of the VISA requirement as well, makes sense if your not going to limit the number of travelers entering then the VISA requirement should be lifted as well since the requirement it's self is a limiting factor for travelers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

the booster requirement will be another albatross around the neck of this inept decision. Most people of travelling age are only double dosed or not dosed at all. It is widely know that vaccination does nothing to stop transmission otherwise Japan should already be Covid free...

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

OPEN up completely.....Visa Free entry 90 Days stay like before..NO going to embassy to apply for a visa....NO tour groups.....NO travel agent involvement....NO nothing..JUST OPEN UP like every other country....

6 ( +7 / -1 )

In contrast to China, which at least has the lowest infection rate in the world while being the only country with positive economic growth.

Sorry that's debatable. 5 reasons below

China's anti-coronavirus policies have gone badly wrong, thanks mainly to the fact that the Chinese vaccines are not very effective. Lockdowns only way to combat infection and anyway infection numbers too are debatable. Quote in response to a comment on fishy Chinese figures of infection :

think the numbers are much higher than China cares to put out there.

Painkiller Sept 6th replied

No doubt.

China's economy is paying a high price for the series of drastic lockdowns needed to try to enforce the zero-covid policy. Its vaccine diplomacy failed and now it is struggling to deal with a number of debt crises among countries it has lent money to. 

The property and construction industries had in recent years accounted for a large share of Chinese GDP (some estimates put the contribution as high as 30%), but the property business is now collapsing in many major cities. A large contribution from property to economic growth has now been lost, probably for many years to come. 

China has suffered very severe heatwaves and drought, which have caused human suffering as well as reducing hydroelectric power supply drastically. It is not surprising that Chinese state media has stopped mentioning the country's annual economic growth target for 2022 of 5.5%, as the actual outcome looks likely to be half of that figure, possibly even lower.

China's strategic partner, Russia, is failing to defeat Ukraine in its war, even while adding hugely to China's energy and food import costs.
3 ( +4 / -1 )

Just booked my trip for December, thanks!

Finally, and now twice a year at least starting 2023 I hope.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Since Japan close down it source of cheap energy the yen has been overvalued. Tourism will not help the value of the Yen but will benefit the local economy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan has got it wrong, is getting it wrong and no doubt will do the same in the future but I am not complaining, I was the only one lounging in the onsen’s outside bath last night gazing at the massive harvest moon-thank you Japan for your insularity!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Will I have not heard my country complain nor any other of the G7. Business is not hampered. Only Tourism is and most countries deter their citizens holidaying overseas. I assume local Japanese small business are the loudest to complain. Now they have one month to recruit and retain foreign speaking worker from out of their ear holes.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Why October? Why not now? So the government can act like the previous change to the policy made earlier this month is some part of a sequentially logical process for reopening? Or in other words saving face? What a colossal fraud!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

kurisupisuSep. 13  08:45 am JST

Japan has got it wrong, is getting it wrong and no doubt will do the same in the future but I am not complaining, I was the only one lounging in the onsen’s outside bath last night gazing at the massive harvest moon-thank you Japan for your insularity!

Same sentiments here.

Elvis is hereSep. 13  06:14 am JST

Sorry that's debatable. 5 reasons below

Anything can be debated. Doesn't mean everything is proved wrong.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan has got it wrong

Well, not beating and bullying the population into a draconian state of affairs is one thing they got right. Not strangling their own economy with the left hand while the right hands drops the vaccine program is another sensible move.

As we know, Japan is responding to the situation. A successful and expanding vaccine program, opening borders, non- draconian lockdown etc. A living with covid policy is the plan and approach and has been something the J gov has worked towards since always. A no-plan approach is a ridiculous way of see things and a false narrative. All in all, by contrast to others nearby Japan is doing very well. To illustrate my point:

I am not complaining*

Japanese population generally isn't complaining too, (public discontent is a good gauge on a governments success) but across the sea our neighbours population is complaining and getting more vocal.

Example, responding to the national volleyball team wearing masks on court:

Chinese outcry after volleyballers wear N95 masks during match

Another said: "How long will this so-called epidemic prevention farce continue? Do we want to become the butt of all other countries' jokes?"

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-62684036

The thing is, no-one in their right mind thinks the Chinese and the overall zero- covid approach is a joke. It's a terrible humanitarian situation that no decent person would make light off or seriously support in any way.

Anything can be debated. Doesn't mean everything is proved wrong.

Thanks for your consideration. Painful as it is, the brevity of your final remarks proves a colonel of truth in my 5 points.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I for one am NOT removing my hazmat suit. That's the only thing stopping me from getting the Covid!

a mask is not a hazmat suit, but hey keep dreaming your misinformation if it make you feel better

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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