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Japan to offer 10,000 free trips to foreigners to boost tourism industry

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10,000 "thumbs up" tourists only, praise Japan and enjoy free ride.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

And Japan thinks this will make things better for everyone. This is just another gimmick to try to entice people to come to Japan and overlook what is really going on. By doing this, it will only create more bills for Japan. Instead of giving away 10,000 free trips, Japan should be working on what to do with all of the evacuees and how to make things better for everyone that lives in Japan. Do they actually think there will be good reports from this gimmick!! Heck, they have not even started to reconstruct the hard hit areas in Japan and the reactors that are in Fukushima is far close to being under control. All of the lies of TEPCO and the Japanese government is being overlooked with gimmicks like this. So sad!!

-9 ( +10 / -17 )

Why doesn't Japan take the same amount of money and more to subsidize (reduce) the cost of a round-trip ticket on a Japanese airline? How much money will 10,000 tourist spend during a typical two week holiday? A ticket from the USA is $1600 USD, of which $750 is in TAXES for security and airport fees. A tourist who can purchase a ticket for $850 will spend MORE for services, souvenirs and other expenses. More tourists means more economic stimulus. Finally, do not believe the news that says people are avoiding Japan because of radiation. They are not traveling because of the cost to travel to Japan.

16 ( +20 / -5 )

Sign me up!!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

MORE INFO PLEASE!! Hope to get my family on this, would be sweet. All Japan tour, I'll write the report for them!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

**So where can sign up for this, since I have been going to Japan every other month but would like to go every month NOT for work but for getaway because I love the place, the food, and the girls so much :))) I could use a FREE ticket every now and then!

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Pretty rare to see tourism and ongoing nuclear disaster in the same sentence.

7 ( +11 / -5 )

It must be good if they have to give it away.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

@Nonrio

The cost of travel to and in Japan is a disincentive to visiting Japan but the radition worry is a bigger issue right now. My wife is a tour guide and her agency which caters to US tourists has closed its Japan office and are not offering tours to Japan since the nuclear disaster. My wife is virtually unemployed as a result. Tour agencies that are still operating in Japan have seen their customers fall drastically since Diichi. Until worries about radiation subside, it looks to continue that way.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

There doesn't seem to be anything about this on the JTA website. Where do we point friends and rellies for information and the chance to sign up?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I have already sent email about this to all my friends who love Japan.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Okay, we ned more information.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Does anybody think that maybe the reason U.S. tourists are staying home might be due to the dollar Yen exchange rate???? When it costs an American 25% more to stay, eat, and enjoy the sights of Japan they might decide that the sights around North America are just as good.

9 ( +10 / -2 )

Expecting in about 18 months for figures to boast foreign tourists increased by up to 10,000 for the preceding year.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

recherche88

The cost of travel to and in Japan is a disincentive to visiting Japan but the radition worry is a bigger issue right now.

I disagree - all of my foreign friends seem to think everything is grand at Fukushima and the tsunami cleanup is complete (I have to tell them otherwise) but everybody knows Japan is ridiculously expensive to visit right now due to the exchange rates.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Does this free trips make the world to re-take japan as the no:1 tourist destination??

Does this 10000 foreigners vist make Japan radiation free?

This is the age of internet and open media. Every one knows what is what. No need of free tickets.

Cut the rate of Yen you will see 100000 tourists coming to Japan even to see the Fukushima plant. Arial tour to see the Fukushima plant and Tsunami hit areas will be a No1 attraction for the world. believe me....

Here the Govt employees enjoy the high rate of yen and they do not want to think of poor japanese people. And they are the policy makers behind the stupid politicians in Japan....

5 ( +7 / -2 )

noriyosan73-

Why doesn't Japan take the same amount of money and more to subsidize (reduce) the cost of a round-trip ticket on a Japanese airline?

From the article:

free airfare.

I suspect the free tickets will be on a Japanese airline. It's a way for the government to subsidize JAL et al without giving them bailout (bad phrase for an airline, eh?) money.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If they're offering free trips to Okinawa, sign me up.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The Yen rate kills them. Are they going to stay at 5 star hotels? Wait until they see the cost of those. Business and love hotels are cheap, but non-speakers would not know what to do.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

At first I thought it was the government doing this and I wondered where the money was coming from. Is it from tax or from money raised from the earthquake/tsunami disaster. So it's not the government but the JTA. I wonder if ANA or JAL is the carrier of choice for this deal. Is the target a traveler from certain countries or any country? Since the purpose is to stimulate the economy, I guess the ideal tourist is someone who is willing to drop big bucks to stay in pricey accommodations (no hostels or Y's!), eat well (no 100 yen Mickey D's) and check out all the tourist traps (vendors get out your wares!).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How about de-valuing the almighty yen to a reasonable exchange rate?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This really surprised me. I doubt there has ever been a tourism promotion program on this scale anywhere else in the world, ever, and so it does indicate to me the JTA's sincerity and strong desire to promote Japan.

All the same, I think it would be better for the JTA to hold off on this sort of promotion until after the Fukushima nuclear plants are covered in concrete and have stopped emitting radiation.

Also, this is sure to be controversial with the Japanese populace, and will generate some hard feelings amongst those against the campaign. If it does actually go through, it will be interesting to see how adamant the reaction is, both from those for it and against it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Brilliantly thouhgt out idea JTA - I,m sure they will get lots of "impartial" information from these free ticket tourists....now I also can understand why J govt can,t manage its finances without raising our taxes from next financial year...its not just about money for Tohoku - its also about funding all these pet projects for various ministries and govt. agencies...TIJ @ DenTok - I read on another website that this is subject to the budget approval from Jgovt - so it does sound like its your tax money paying for this...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It sounds great where do I sign up???

2 ( +5 / -3 )

My bags are packed

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Realmind says: Cut the rate of Yen you will see 100000 tourists coming to Japan even to see the Fukushima plant. Arial tour to see the Fukushima plant and Tsunami hit areas will be a No1 attraction for the world. believe me....

I agree. I'd save about $1200 with free airfare. But it would cost me about $5000 to stay in Japan for 1 month, get around on a rail pass, eat modestly, and stay in business hotels. You can imagine how motivated I am to write even a few words for something that would cost me.

What they need to do is hook up with travel writers who already write for industry hire. That way they'd get access to magazines--online and print--and better caliber writers.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Foreign tourism isn't only important, it's profitable. This deal is a loss leader that will generate goodwill and pay dividends in the future. A 50% drop is an economic disaster of another kind. Too many sourpusses complaining here.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

While they are at it, how about free airfare back home for those who insist on being negative? One way? Not sure their own countries will appreciate their whining though.

@borscht

I suspect the free tickets will be on a Japanese airline

Well, that's fair enough. 2 birds with 1 stone.

I think this is a great idea. I really hope it helps. Japan is such a beautiful country

1 ( +3 / -2 )

My bags are packed and my passport is in my hand.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I doubt you can subscribe the drop in tourism to the nuclear fear alone. I think you should take into account that pretty much every country is going through a financial and employment crisis.

10.000 plane tickets is nothing, specially if they do some deal with the big Japanese airlines, the money that those tourist will bring will be higher plus they might come back, or tell others to come and visit. I have never met anyone who visited Japan and said, damn, never want to come again. There is so much to see!

As for the nuclear fears, sure there is more radiation, will a 2 week holiday in an area with higher radiation kill you? Doubt it.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I can't see the benefit of the Japanese people being taxed to pay for hordes of budget travellers to come to Japan. Japan is already in a recession and jobs are scarce,especially for the older generations.

Let's spend the money on education and retraining.

And wouldn't it be

much better to really start to contain the leaking reactors in Fukushima on a bigger scale.

IMHO it is a waste of money........

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Honestly most people will get more radiation from the plane trip than from the stay. Tourism is down a bit from Fukushima but down a lot from the USD/JPY. Fire up the presses!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

More info pls... how to apply online... :) I will be glad to write a report for them in return :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not too many Chinese or Koreans, please. They can afford it . They'll come here anyway.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Excellent idea. I have plenty of friends who would come. Waiting for the link to sign up.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hopefully how much do you intend to spend while in Japan is part of the application. Otaku sleeping in maid cafes in Akihabara is not what the economy needs.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Will they have to stay in Fukushima and eat food from there too? It's always what's not printed in the article that really matters. Beware!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Sign me up...oh wait, I live here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan certainly has made alot of headway when it comes to tourism, Tokyo never used to be tourist friendly.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

dentok

jta = govt = waste of our taxes

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That said

My brother & his kid visited in July, do you offer refunds?

My mother is here now visiting for a month, canyou at least upgrade her when she leaves???

Least you can do jta for all the biz I have been bringing ya!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

"Japan is already in a recession and jobs are scarce,..."

kurisupisu: Tourism is a industry that supports not only the service industry but many others too. First, think about the obvious ones such as souvenir shops. restaurants, hotels, etc. and the people directly employed. And then what about people and companies that support them? What about the train and transportation revenue generated? Tax revenue is generated also. Yes, jobs are scarce but they'll be scarcer if the industry isn't given the help it needs.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hey marcelito, thanks for letting me know about the JTA... I didn't bother to look them up as I thought JTA what the association of travel agencies called themselves.

@gw - hollow laughter =p

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have been working in Singapore and Indonesia for the past 2 plus years. About 2 years ago I saw an article on this very site where Japan was spending a ton of money on a "Cool Japan" PR campeign. Everyday there are fantastic tourism spots on television for Malaysia, India, Thailand, Vietnam and Korea. These are really weel done and make you want to go see these countries. "Cool Japan"? diddly squat, nada, zip, nil. So where did this money go? Bring 10,000 people there for free....you get 10,000 people. Do some real advertising, and you get tens of thousands.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What would the advertising blurbs be?

A free trip to Japan !

Come and see the ancient culture and ageless history of Japan. For the first time in history we offer our foreign visitors a free special guided tour, Plutonium kun and Cesium san (our charming mascots) will accompany you for the duration of your trip. Never leaving your side for the duration of your trip these invisible guides will energise and radiate the visitor 24 hours a day. Even when leaving Japan Cesium kun and Plutonium kun will be with you. Of course, on returning to your home country there might be immigration problems with your new found friends-no problem;a quick scrub down and radiation check will leave you refreshed and ready to tell your foreign friends how safe Japan is. Remember Plutonium kun and Cesium san are ready to meet you now and for the next couple of million years in the future too!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I think these 10,000 free tickets are going to disappear in a second...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nothing is free in this world, so what's the catch?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It sounds irresponsible to invite foreigners while the ravaged plants are leaking radioactive materials. I don't know when they will come in the next year, but I want them to come to Japan at least a year later and to western Japan. I hope that the tourists will return home without any troubles.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A link would be nice, I found nothing so far on the JTA website.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It says free trips for 'foreigners', but does that exclude those living in Japan? Can we pull the old-school Japan Rail Pass scam before they required you to show your passport? :)

Anyway, I don't think it's going to achieve much. The people who win the trip are unlikely to spend as much as those who buy a ticket regularly. It'll make some people happy, though. I just hope it's an open ticket -- as in they can choose where in Japan they go. I don't want it to be some "free trip to Fukushima to prove it's safe" campaign.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@paulinusa

I would love to agree with you but if it were the case then countries such as Thailand and Japanese prefectures as Okinawa would surely show a high degree of prosperity-high tourist volumes do not equal wealth.

@Kaketama yes it is irresponsible

Remember that no journalists are allowed into the plants at Fukushima to report on the conditions of the sunken reactors-the only info that comes out is from Tepco.

Can we believe that ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At a first glance, it looks like a very nice idea (who wouldn't want to receive a free ticket to visit Japan?)... But when you think about it, you realize this is typically a bad "good idea". Government money should be better used in promoting modern tourism infrastructure (most touristic infrastructure is old if not crumbling outside major centers) :

help the hospitality industry reach global standards (international reservation database, credit card processing, hotel networks, multilingual information)

renovate tourist attractions (renovated infrastructure, sponsor modern management and financial process, new design, automation)

embellish tourist hotspots: many streets in Kyoto are still filled with pachinkos, power cables, etc... while some historical buildings are destroyed or are not renovated

promote a tourist card giving access to public and private venues (museums, temples, selected restaurants and hotels, trains, ...) at reduced prices.

If they don't know how to do it, I suggest they spend some money to study the tourism organization system in France (world leader with 80 million foreign tourists a year).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Disillusioned is right to be ironic "It must be good if they have to give it away." The fact that free tickets are offered is going to get far more publicity than the impressions of the free travellers. This measure is going to send a negative message about travel.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The catch is FREE ends when you arrive at Narita! Once you leave the airport welcome to the worlds highest domestic travel costs!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I've been putting off my family ancestral trip to Wakayama due to the huge exchange rate disparity. Radiation is not an issue (and certainly not in Wakayama). That being said, I wonder if being a US Nikkei would put me at the bottom of the list?

Otherwise, sign me up.

Oh, and:

Everyday there are fantastic tourism spots on television for Malaysia, India, Thailand, Vietnam and Korea. These are really weel done and make you want to go see these countries. "Cool Japan"? diddly squat, nada, zip, nil. So where did this money go? Bring 10,000 people there for free....you get 10,000 people. Do some real advertising, and you get tens of thousands.

I've seen a few spots on the international free channels here starring the Arashi guys. Pretty sad stuff though. They could certainly do a lot better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Remember that no journalists are allowed into the plants at Fukushima to report on the conditions of the sunken reactors-the only info that comes out is from Tepco.

Can we believe that ?

Well, given the responsible way the Western Media reported the 'facts' after March 11, this is a good thing. Otherwise there'd be reports of trapped British mum keeper whatsherface stumbling around Fukushima etc.

I don't believe much coming out of Tepco. I believe far less coming from the Western Media.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Otherwise there'd be reports of trapped British mum keeper whatsherface stumbling around Fukushima etc.

Too funny! That was the pits, wasn't it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For this campaign, what's the PR tag line going to be? "Visit Japan for free and leave a glowing review", "Japan, it's not ALL radiated". Seriously though, with 10,000 free tickets to be given away (from April 2012) I guess JNTO will be able to report higher Q2 visitor statistics over 2011. As long as the numbers are there..... it's official.

0 ( +2 / -1 )

The plan is still subject to government budgetary approval.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This would be so exciting, I know a lot of my friends want to come but can't because the flights are so expensive, so this would be amazing!

Also, it is true what a few people have said, you get more radiation from the plane ride then being in Japan. It's called background radiation and it is a part of your every day life

here's a great chart explaining the doses you get just from, well, living http://xkcd.com/radiation/

0 ( +1 / -1 )

so it is just free airfare? This article is woefully bereft of details regarding what is actually being offered.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So where Can I register this Thing?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A fairly stupid idea. This will only bring 10 000 freeloaders to the country, rather spend the money fixing up Tohoku region than do this. Fix the problem, not the consequence. Anyway, western Japan is doing great when it comes to tourism.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think this is a nice idea , how can i apply for this good news .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Heda_Madness: "Well, given the responsible way the Western Media reported the 'facts' after March 11, this is a good thing."

And time and time again they have been proven right, whereas the government has had to back-step and get mad at TEPCO, and TEPCO back-step and say they didn't know or that it's the government's fault, etc. You aren't seriously justifying TEPCO given it's history, are you?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They should offer this deal to poor countries to give the people an opportunity to see life outside of where they live. Otherwise, Europe, Americas, and China (or countries that can otherwise afford to travel without a freebie from the Jgov)...but I guess that defeats the purpose of stimulating the economy...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Moderator above: Thank you for letting us know that:

The plan is still subject to government budgetary approval.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lady GaGa said it is safe so it must be...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That is ridiculous. Why do I have to pay with my tax money for 10,000 clowns to have a free trip here? Nobody asked me about that.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japan needs to make up its mind: does it want foreigners in or out? oh wait, I just remembered japan's policy. they want foreigners, just as long as they dont decide to take up residence there. I'm in the US now, but I wonder if I could get a free ticket to return home to japan next spring. i'd write a stellar review

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Smith,

I would have thought my final sentence should clearly explain my point of view but in case you missed it, here it is again:

**I don't believe much coming out of Tepco. I believe far less coming from the Western Media.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

So...

"How can we market our product (Japan tourism) to people around the world?"

"Let's give 10,000 units away..."

There are reasons Japan tourism fails. Until JTA and the other Japanese tourism organizations start listening and communicating, tourism in Japan will continue to be a FAIL.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, come visit and spend money! But stay too long and soon it becomes "gaijin go home".

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

pick me pick me i have not been to sendai for 3 years getting homesick for japan

0 ( +1 / -1 )

From where do this money come from? It comes from something called war chest fund. Its called by that name as this is fund established to deposit all the money looted by Japan from other countries in world war's. Its huge. Its looted from Philipines, China, Korea, Russia and so on.

The govt use this war fund to keep Japan out of poverty.

Businesses get free money. I call it free because the interest rates are very nominal and repayment period is 80 to 100 years if the company survives. Govt provide this money to customers of Japanese banks. Its eligible for only Japanese companies.

Please do not wonder as to what will happen to Japan and its economy. Its going to be stable and in one year the people will be as propserous as they were before the earthquake. Thanks to the WAR CHEST FUND.

Rob

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I would love to visit Japan again as my daughter in law is Japanese and I just love the country.We can't be constantly expecting the worst to happen or we will miss out on so many things in life.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is exciting. I love Japan. I took Japanese basic class last July and I will be taking the JLPT this December. This offer is really great. I will be thrilled much if I'm of those who can avail this offer. I want to study more about Japan and the opportunity of going there is very helpful and great. I can use the basic Japanese language i have been studying. I will be able to practice the language. I would love to see sakura and the beautiful tourist destinations in Japan. I love the culture of Japan. Japanese are the most disciplined people I have known. If I will be given the chance to go there, it will be an amazing experience.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I have mixed emotions about this, who wouldn't want a free ticket? Boosting tourist revenue is great, but guess I'd sooner see this money spent for the direct benefit of the victims. I live in the U.S., I am a middle class single parent with two children. We haven't been back to Japan since 2005, a month long vacation set me back $13,000. At todays exchange rate that's $20,000, I work four months for that. I would rather buy my own ticket than think about how much good that money could have done in the right hands. By spring 2013 I hope to have enough saved up to go back. I really don't understand the hesitance on the part of tourists to go to Japan, based on short term exposure to elevated radiation levels. I certainly do understand the hesitance of the Japanese people to live with continuous exposure to elevated radiation levels. Or to believe what their government and Tepco are telling them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"what's the catch?"

A cup of coffee here costs almost as much as lunch at a diner in the U.S.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As Japan strives to recover the lost tourist $$, there are still many, many people in Tohoku struggling to carry on with life. While I understand the intentions of the government and sympathize, I reserve my greatest empathy for those in the northeast, who carry on quietly under tremendous burdens. This is not, unfortunately, a smart way of utilizing the tax dollars of the public -- no matter how much good will it may generate.

Perhaps when people arrive on their own, they can be offered subsidized tours and multilingual guides, packages to see and experience the best of the culture, but the financial outlay in offering return airfare for 10000 people is just too high -- particularly in light of the struggles of everyday citizens affected by the March disaster, or those afflicted by the poor economic climate. Maybe they're hoping to offer the bulk of these packages to their Asian neighbours, which would be cheaper than flying them over in droves from farther locales? There must be a better way to use this money...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's part of the Japanese mentalitiy not to accept hand-outs (or hand-ups) but to be as self sufficient as possible. Money raised to be given to the families of the people who were (or still are) trapped in nuclear plants have many times been refused from the sheer mentality. So, as for the government maybe spending their money more wisely, no, their probably isn't a better option aside from work on the plants (which, again, it's not like they've had their thumbs up their butts for 7 months. The work is gradual and will take a while). This option is an investment that is likely to pay off quite highly.

IF this information is true - which I scoured JTA in both my 8-yr-old level of Japanese and in fluent English and I can't seem to find anything - then I say it is to the benefit of all travelers, explorers and students especially to go.

Yes, the yen is a good bit further off than we would like, BUT when you put in how much you'd think to pay for airfare and instead convert that to a hotel (men, you can stay in capsel hotels. I'm not sure if these are open to women yet) and into food (there are more starbucks ("sta-ba") and McDonalds (macudonarudo) per average block in Tokyo than in Portland, Oregon (one of the countries top 30 largest cities).

I'm looking for information. If anyone has any, send it off - that would be great.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Please keep me informed of this... I don't mind to go to Japan for the third time and have a new experience there!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree with most of what you said KC but there are many ways to help people without it being a hand out, facilities, services, medical help, jobs, just to name a few. No disrespect intended.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No matter if true or not... Let's register fastly!!! So where can I do that please? > <

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Money raised to be given to the families of the people who were (or still are) trapped in nuclear plants have many times been refused from the sheer mentality

As someone who has made countless trips to the region, I have never experienced anyone refusing anything. Quite the contrary, what I have seen is hundreds of people queueing calmly in all conditions and gratefully accepting the small donations that we have been able to offer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Readers, please note this is not official yet, so there is nowhere to register.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"The plan is still subject to government budgetary approval." : JT modertor. now, dear readers, pls withdraw your comments and i will not be surprised if three zeros are gone if at all this plan is approved by j-govt.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This idea sounds grand, but WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR IT??

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Still a small no. considering how many people want to come to Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan Tourism Agency plans to ask would-be travelers to submit online applications for the free flights, detailing which areas of the country they would like to visit............................

include Tohoku region and you have a fair chance of winning.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That is one of the good ideas. We have to bring foreigners to Japan. Few years ago, that kind of idea was not come out as a country's idea. Japanese government usually did not approve many foreigners to come Japan. One of the reasons is that we can enjoy our lives without much of trading or exchanging information. They looked themselves and there was no problem for them. However, its idea was not good for long running.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So my guess is that the choosing will be skewed towards people who want to spend time in Kanto/Tohoku? Flights in and out of Narita to ensure people spend at least some time there? Also people who are active bloggers will be given priority, if this in inline with JGOV's previous statement of intent to earmark 1.5 billion yen for the use of garnering 'positive feedback' from foreign bloggers regarding the safety of Japan and Japanese food? Well if it is so safe then why did the Ministry of Farms and Fisheries just send out a letter asking supermarkets and convenience stores etc etc to 'try to refrain' from displaying labels showing the origin of fruit and vegetables? Will 'winners' of the free tickets be legally bound not to write anything that contradicts the intent of this propaganda exercise? As unlikely as that would be, of course.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The program, which will require travelers to cover other costs such as accommodation, is expected to start from next April, subject to government budgetary approval.

cha ching! Like those free amusement parks, free entrance but all the rides costs 5 bucks a go... when the Yen is so high the cheapest part of this is the ticket!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nice, I want one ticket!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the japanese govt. have'nt confirm the budget yet.. hope they will approve~

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Would parents with kids want to tour though the Tohoku badlands?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I would like to visit japan, Where would i go to "start" in this contest?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't need a free ticket to get to Japan...keep the money and spend it where it's needed with the rest of the disaster clean up. Also have international independent nuclear experts monitoring the radiation levels and the kind of radiation that is high. Tell the tourists where it's safe to visit. We get no info in Canada as to what is going on over there. I can fly from Canada quite reasonable...the disincentive (aside from the serious radiation concern) to traveling to the other side of the globe is "time", getting at least three weeks off work is tough and I feel that is the only way to enjoy Japan since you waste away 5 or six days with travel and jet lag.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@oberst ..."include Tohoku region and you have a fair chance of winning."

then One Way ticket is ok.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

where do i sign? then then money im saving to pay for my flights i can spend in japan!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just the best country to visit and the the most polite and friendly people. They could teach the world what manners are all about. I will be throwing my hat in the ring for a holiday again -have made 2 visits there and cannot get enough of the culture and the the beautiful country. The japanese people never let disaster lose their resolve-they just pick themselves up-dust off their knees and get on with it. I visited Japan 3 weeks after the disaster this year and I never felt in danger or at risk and the people were just so grateful we were there-and I am still alive and breathing. I will be watching and waiting if this offer goes ahead as I will be applying-Thank you Japan and good luck for your future as you rebuild. Cannot wait to get back there again one day.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I love the place (mostly) and visit every year anyway. Unfortunately I (and I guess many others) wont be back for a couple of years and it's nothing to do with any possible small amount of radiation I might pick-up on a couple of weeks trip. The reason is simple.... with our exchange rate at the moment everything costs almost double to 5 years ago. A beer in a bar here in the UK is around £3, to buy similar is almost £9 at the moment in Tokyo. -Of course it's not just "beer" but absolutely everything from the shortest train ride to a dinner out is prohibitively expensive. Sort the yen problem and tourists will be back.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thank you Mods, the wording of the article gave me the impression that it was a done deal.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If J govt really wants to burn money on this they should do something like cover 50% of the airfare and the participants should pay the other 50% or whatever with the proceeds going towards helping the evacuees in Tohoku...that way everyone benefits... Japan should still get a bunch of tourists happy to come over cheaply ( if they are truly interested in Japan ) ,, J govt saves a bit of money that can go towards Tohoku as well, the tourists get ( hopefully) a good feeling from helping the evacuees who will get the benefit of a bit of extra help going their way , and hopefully the biggest freeloaders will be kept out.

Btw the comment made above that people affected by the nuclear crisis refuse offered help because of some cultural trait is just plain ridiculous...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am wishing that my family and I could visit Japan in the near future. This article is a welcome news for us. Thank you for this message. Cheers!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Reinforce Japan against earthquakes & tsunamis - a super barge of a Japan perhaps? That'll draw well-heeled tourists & contracts for Nippon hi-tech.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So that's why they're doing with our tax money. They are going to raise taxes due to the March 11th disaster and now we know what they are going to use it for. I say Phooey!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm there. :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, by all means come on in. We that taxpayers of Japan would love to finance your lazy asses on an free junket. No, don't worry. It's not like we were going to do anything else with the money (couch, couch pay down our gynormous debt, etc.) While you are here, please do not ask how much for a night w/ a geisha. Trust me, you haven't go that much. Please do buy a kimono though.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just sent that to my friend in Europe who came in 2008. He said: No thanks! In 2008 he got 160 Yen for 1 Euro, today 95. If everybody thinks like him, this will be another waste of our tax money unfortunately.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I just got my mum registered on the site!

It seems that it will be a lottery type system with a November 15th closing date.

A week after the lucky winners will be notified

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

**Sign me up!! Im In!**

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@kurisupisu 7.40 pm Which site? The JTA? I'm looking at this right now and I cannot see it at all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We were due to make our third visit this year but had to cancel due to the tsunami....love to have a free flight and get ourselves Japan Railways Passes....just putting together a blurb book featuring trains and places including areas other than Tokyo....look forward to details asap. PS I write reviews for Trip Advisor and Amazon.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The tourism is an important industry for Japan without any resources.

I have already received some responses from friends who have received my email on this. They all asked if Fukushima is under control and it is safe to visit. Is it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seems a bit misguided.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's a sad day if this is what it's come to - Japan having to give people free tickets just to come here.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I don't know if I would visit Japan next year free ticket or no. From what I've been reading and seeing of the decontamination effort in Fukushima and other prefectures they are not giving Neutron radiation the seriousness that it deserves and neutron radiation will spread just like it has been doing since March by turning whatever it comes into contact with radioactive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thing is the Jet program was supposed to create legions of J-fans, if that hasnt worked why on earth wud they thnk this wud help????

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm ready!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How much will they love their free trip after they are finger-printed and photographed like common criminals at the airport ?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's a sad day if this is what it's come to - Japan having to give people free tickets just to come here.

Burakumin, agreed.

I have already read a hidden message coming out of Japan through this and other JT topics. Japan is in the "D" since 3/11. Very sad.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My bet is they give it to people who have never been here before and who have no family members here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Moms keep peaching their children : "there is no free lunch these days, one should work hard to secure own rewards." Free ticket to ride ? Are visitors supposed to be posing for reporters eating fruits, vegetables or sashimis in the Tohoku; writing propaganda reports on how safe it is near the Fukushima sea shore etc.. Are these tactics pretty 'hard-sell' gimmicks ?

Better off quickening the pace of rebuild the image of Japan as a safe, clean & disciplined country by taking in-depth measures to return Japan to the pre-quakes state ( eliminating the debris from Tohoku, in-depth clean up of all possible radioactive contaminations on fruits, vegetables, seafoods...) meantime, 'early birds' deep discount special offer on tourist package tours for early booking to visit Japan, say in 2013, after all basic post-disaster clean ups are done. This is probably the honest & credible approach that is badly needed by Japan as per top priority

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Remember there is no such thing as a free lunch. You are being offered a free trips to Japan only because the fear (not unsubstantiated) of radiation from the nuclear fallout has seriously damaged the local tourism industry. Your visit to Japan will be used to try to show others that everything is ok. The Japanese government cannot, of course, guarantee you anything about your safety from inhaling radioactive fallout or ingesting contaminated food/water.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I would love to visit Japan: my daughter goes often and speaks the language well, so I'll take her with. In fact I should like to visit as near as I can get to Fukushima to see for myself what is going on

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

JTA should make this 10,000 program eligible for first time tourists (in Japan, I mean) only. I agree Japan has to do something to boost tourism, but this program will come and go and the number of tourists will not raise as they - bureaucratically - dream. What they should do was to advertise, heavily, in TV commercials. Do you know what I last saw about Japan on TV? "3/11 Tsunami: Six Months Later" and "Fukushima". No real motivation to visit Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So typically Japanese to give in first, in hopes that they'll come out looking good. As some of the posters said, remove the costly surcharges which is about 50% of the cost of a RT fare, and people may come. Those who have no clue about costs for hotel, food and transportation in Japan will wish they hadn't signed up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I understand the arguments that people are presenting against this but I thinkt it is a good idea. I think it is unfair to assume that people who sign up this would not know the other costs involved into traveling to Japan. I would think that those who sign up would be people who really want to visit Japan and haven't for various reasons. Having the flight somewhat paid for would remove a good portion of the cost and would allow for that money to possibly pay for a better hotel than those signing up might have gotten if they would have paid for the flight on their own.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I would LOVE to go to JAPAN! Always dreamed of it !Please sign me up or give me more info on how to apply!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would love to jump on this! Or at least give to my family members. We ended up flying into Narita the day it ropened and caught a second flight to Osaka. Myself, 2 kids, wife, and mother-in-law had purchased a tour package over my kids spring break. It was to be our family vacation of a lifetime. We didn't know if we should try to cancel or go, but our email contacts in Japan asked to please come.

Thanks to our travel agency "Japan Deluxe Tours" and our wonderful guide, we went and had an opportunity to observe an incredible people and country during one of their most trying periods. And we felt that our presence was appreciated. Please remember that many people work in the travel industry and NEED the tourism to return to keep their jobs. Tourism returning will keep people employed and not needing government handouts. The 10,000 tickets looks to be a promotion to encourage the return tourism which in the long run will help the country and its citizens.

My family and I wish to return to see many of the attractions that were closed due to the disasters that took place. Japan has so much to proud of and to show the rest of world that I hope this promotion takes place.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

10,000 more foreigners in japan for free ???? Am I dreaming !!!!! Is this armageddon ? Will the four horsemen fly over my head now ????

I would like to give the 10,000 foreigners some travel advice. Being here for a total of 11 years of my life.

1) Bring some iodine with you. 5 / 10 pack syringe is GOOD.

2)you need an ipod app for detecting earthquakes

3) make sure your phone is unlocked or rent a phone at the airport

4) be prepared for looks, stares and jeering from the young and old in japan

5) prepare to lose alot of money using the shinkansen ( high speed rail )

6) you cannot eat the fish rice poultry, meat and vegetables (eat at your own risk) but you can take pictures

7) be prepared to walk 6-9 hours in any direction if there is a major earthquake

8) always stay to left side of in kanto area / right side in osaka

9) be prepared to be stared at for your entire trip

10) enjoy

-7 ( +4 / -10 )

May I add something very important that you have missed above, wiskeysour?

11)Leave your name and location of your stay n Japan with embassy. If American citizen, you can go to US State Dept website to do this in advance.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Whiskeysour,

Great list but if l may add a couple to that

12) Dont expect much in the way of tourist attractions, one can only see so many temples and fake concrete castles 13) Bring a peg to cover your nose to protect you from the putrid septic smells that waft up from the drains in some cities. 14) Dont expect much english to be spoken, however if you do persist its amazing how many Japanese actually can speak some english. 15) Prepare to be robbed blind in hotel costs 16) If going anywhere by car assume a trip lasting many hours if you make it at all. 17) Please dont even bother coming if you happen to have a visible tattoo, you may as well be a leper.

Actually come to think of it, even with the free flights its probably cheaper and more enjoyable to holiday elsewhere

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The radiation and the high yen will keep me a way for a while. No free trips will drag me back there.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

put me down for 100

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It won't happen, this is plan is mighty unpopular with the locals...you should read some of the blogs on this!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

5) prepare to lose alot of money using the shinkansen ( high speed rail )

That might be true if it wasn't for the JR rail pass. Unlimited travel for the cost of a trip from Osaka to Tokyo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kurisupisuOct. 11, 2011 - 07:40PM JST

I just got my mum registered on the site!

It seems that it will be a lottery type system with a November 15th closing date.

A week after the lucky winners will be notified

Really? Every site I have gone to has informed me that it isn't official yet and there is nowhere to register. Oh, please do tell us where to sign up!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but they did this a while back, on a smaller scale. They invited a bunch of South Korean bloggers to Japan and the results were very good.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why 10,000? Why not travel and tourism bloggers/writers only. The goal of safely traveling around Japan can be reached for a lot less and with the right people to write about it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is definitely a wise decision.Thank you for your decision. I wish to go Japan by the next year.So it will be my pleasure if I will have the opportunity.I wish to go sendai, tokyo, hiroshima, osaka.again thanks a lot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"The program, which will require travelers to cover other costs such as accomodation..."

Oh well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Make those 10,000 people volunteer in Tohoku for two weeks. Then it would be a great campaign. It could even change the world.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When would they let people who use their phones through email know? would it be before christmas (like boston) or after new years(sorry again in boston)???

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm a US citizen whom studied abroad in Japan during college and absolutely LOVED IT! I've been dreaming about the day I go back, but with the insane travel costs and unfavorable exchange rate, it just seems realistically impossible. I am hopeful my application to the JET program is successful, because I don't see any other way to visit Japan without going broke.

This kind of gesture is a bit surprising, but I must say that the money is better off being spent elsewhere. Sure, you are saving visitors hundreds of dollars-but that still doesn't change the fact that Japan is just so expensive to visit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A student of the Japanese language who has been trying to scrape enough together to visit Japan, I am finding this news rather exciting even if I am not of the "highly influential blogger" profile another article claim they are aiming to find.

The program, which will require travelers to cover other costs such as accommodation, is expected to start from next April, subject to government budgetary approval.

If the program begins in April, then I guess I won't be getting there in time for Sakura Matsuri, or do they perhaps mean that winners of the tickets will begin traveling in April? No matter. I plan on being one of these people no matter the travel season.

Despite criticism, I believe this kind of publicity will increase tourism and bring back the funds they are using to recover the devastated areas. It is possible that many winners will travel or split costs with companions who have not won tickets, thus adding to the tourist count and the number of people spending money in Japan. I would be glad to spend my money (prudently) in Japan after a complimentary round-trip flight! I am encouraging all my friends from Japanese classes to apply when the time comes, and with luck we can all go.

I am so excited that I can't wait for the rules and the website to be announced. I am going to start making plans and writing my essay now.

See you soon Japan! (^o^)/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its really cool can any one tell me how to register for the free tour of Japan Thx

0 ( +0 / -0 )

noriyosan73 Oct. 11, 2011 - 07:28AM JST. A ticket from the USA is $1600 USD, of which $750 is in TAXES for security and airport fees. A tourist who can purchase a ticket for $850 will spend MORE for services, souvenirs and other expenses. More tourists means more economic stimulus. Finally, do not believe the news that says people are avoiding Japan because of radiation. They are not traveling because of the cost to travel to Japan.

The airfare from U.S. to Japan is not more expensive than if you went to Korea, China, Philippines, or Vietnam. Even if the airfare to Japan is at the half the cost, it's still a ripoff once you get there because of the current exchange rate. It's not fun to be in Japan when everything that you need has to be onverted from dollars. Tiny hotels and transportation are just too high. There are too many gloomy faces there and people think the same. I rather go to Philippines, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Canada other parts of the world and have great time at half the cost.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This a very rare oppotunity to go to Japan just make some reports of the past Tsunami .. This is great I love it ..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe the govt will have them clean up Setagaya?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan as with New Zealand has seen its fair share of natural disasters that have caused much suffering to its people and loss of life. I send a message to those in Japan to say how brave you have been and those lost will never be forgotten. With each new day brings new challenges but we know that you will rise above and a new Japan will rise in honor of those who lost their lives. Tourism is vital for the future for both our countries and we look forward to prosperous growth in Tourism for us all. I look forward to the day I will see Japan for the first time and to bring back images and video to share with friends all over the world on Facebook. Together if we are positive we can make it happen. David Hall in New Zealand

0 ( +0 / -0 )

how to apply and how much people that can I bring together with me

0 ( +0 / -0 )

its a great pleasure if i will given a chance to come back again in japan coz all my memories out there is so amazing and cannot forget most esp to all my nihonjin tomadachi.sakura which the most unforgetable experience in kobe going to heya jinja and japanese food which is so awesome..so delicious and gotchisousama.going to universal studios and seeing the yuki in yama,walking with my friends while snow is falling,shopping at jusco,wishing that i could go back to japan issho ni my family to see them experience what i had an a great experience staying in japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

japan offers 10,000 free trips but 1000000000000 people would go!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

wish i could be the one of those 10,000 people......

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I would really lOve to go Japan I been trying to go since 2007 this would mean the world to me. I woul really want to go Japan . I've even started learning japanese 6 months ago

Please I really really want to go Japan

0 ( +1 / -1 )

how to apply? i badly wanna go to Japan~ T_____T

0 ( +1 / -1 )

While I would love the chance to visit Japan, I do NOT want money used for the relief funds to be diverted to this program.

As I'm not that frequent of a social networker and have never maintained a blog, I probably won't qualify for this anyway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is the end,Pandora's box is open.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A cup of coffee here costs almost as much as lunch at a diner in the U.S.

Hmmm - where I live in Japan a coffee in a cafe will set you back 280 yen. An cup in a cafe in my native Sydney will set you back more than that. Japan aint so expensive compared to many of the 30-odd countries I've visited - except for the transport. Hopefully these 10,000 folks get a JR 2-week travel pass!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

i wana be big in japan..tonight

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I would never go to Japan again after the Government's treatment of the animals in the exclusion zone. And those that are still alive, their treatment to poison dogs/cats and inject the cows with dishwashing soap. What a cruel death. The government deceit to the people of Japan is appauling, raising the acceptable allowable radiation limits many times higher than the exclusion zone of Chernobyl, even for pregnant women and children. Of course with giving away free tickets, any will take them up on it for a free trip. And the government wants to stir excitment in the media that people want to go to Japan so they can mask over the contamination issues. They are finding widened areas of contamination daily....or at least the goverment admits to it only after residents find them with their own geiger counters. Now the government is trying to ban geiger counters to Japan. Wonder why???

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@whiskeysour Thank you for speaking the truth, that's been exactly my experience here and in exactly the same amount of time Hahahahaha

I thought it was just me experiencing the real Japan......exactly to the letter your description on point. Good thing this article is about visiting and not about living here, because living here would be an even longer list lol.....

For example 17) be prepare that ur not welcome in some hotels or apartment buildings, clubs 18) be prepare to be a child like zoo creature who needs permission or (guarantor/master) to rent a box for an apartment for 10000000000000 yen. lol

Truth hurts.

Thank U for having the courage to speak the truth...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm in. Never got to Hiroshima or the inland sea.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I would love to comeback to Japan !!! Specialy with a free ticket !!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Cpeddie

I would never go to Japan again after the Government's treatment of the animals in the exclusion zone. And those that are still alive, their treatment to poison dogs/cats and inject the cows with dishwashing soap. What a cruel death. The government deceit to the people of Japan is appauling, raising the acceptable allowable radiation limits many times higher than the exclusion zone of Chernobyl, even for pregnant women and children. Of course with giving away free tickets, any will take them up on it for a free trip. And the government wants to stir excitment in the media that people want to go to Japan so they can mask over the contamination issues. They are finding widened areas of contamination daily....or at least the goverment admits to it only after residents find them with their own geiger counters. Now the government is trying to ban geiger counters to Japan. Wonder why???

Hahahaha, but then again, look at the HORDES of ignorant people here who are all like: "yaayy I wanna go to japan and shine like a starrrrr" "FREE ticket for me pleaseeee" "Japan, please Japan please Here I Gooooo!!!" Let them all come here and see for themselves.. by the time they go back home, they'll be glowing like fireflies... Don't even dare to claim anything to the japanese government later....you have been warned!! It's already hard enough for all of us living in this country.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As a writer, photographer, gardener, hiker, artist and friend of a terribly suffering and stricken family in Sendai who said I should not come until the country heals from the March disaster, I say all you people who have participated in this conversation string should support this Canadian who wants to come, free flight or not. Come one, people, vote for me. Not only will Japan Tourism Agency see online coverage of my visit, but they'll also see North American - Canadian, first, of course - national, provincial and major-city magazine print publication of my experiences. Aicheewowwa!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

U get what u pay 4.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hello, count me in here please.. sheryl from the philippines

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No way. The Japanese government can do its own dirty propaganda work without hiring thousands of Japanophilic stooges. It's a typical Japanese response: ignore the problem, pretend everything's fine, publish some "cool Japan" posters, and hope it goes away. Meanwhile, that's millions of yen that could be going towards supplying the people of Tohoku with kerosene, emergency shelter, or reconstruction. It's a farce.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

wish i cud be the one of those...never b'en abrud.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I want to go.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

According to JTA, the promotion hasn't been confirmed. We're all out of luck, I suppose.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Also according to JTA there are some fradulant sites taking people's info for this promotion. Hopefully no one has been caught up in a scam but I noticed a poster on here earlier stated that they had their mum registered. I hope that nothing bad come from the info you gave the site. Until it is posted on the JTA site, no one should get their hopes up or their information out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes there are hot spots - which the population will have surely identified with their own equipment by the time this promotion got off the ground. 90% of Japan is perfectly safe to visit and even some of the elevated radiation areas are OK to visit (just don't live there for an entire year). There are thousands of places in Japan I could visit and not have to worry about ANY radiation except what's incoming from the Sun. If someone covered my airfare, I'd have no problem writing-up my experiences in those thousands of places. Of course, i'd want to make sure I visited the Ishinomaki/Sendai area and write about the status of the recovery there as well. (Guess this means I'm going to have to invest in a laptop. Bleh)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ironically, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are among the safe places.... I wonder what the people of the postwar era would've thought of that...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes,I want to go to Japan to visit my niece and friend over there! I visit Niigata before year 1986 as a tourist and I enjoy much because I at least I visit the most beaitiful and cleanest also safest place in the world. I am now a Gods Minister and I want to feel that way again if given me e chance to go back to my friends and relative! God Bless Japan

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would love to go to Japan. How to apply....?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Omg that is great. I wanna too !! >___<

0 ( +0 / -0 )

(mina san, konnichiwa) it is really nice to have a campaign like this. when i first read this, i am really interested to join. i would like to submit an online application but how i can do it? i am a tourism student in one of a premier university here in the Philippines and i am very in touch with learning new cultures and traditions in different countries. i actually learning japanese language this semester as part of our curriculum and i find it useful and interesting for me. i hope that i would be chosen among the 10, 000 lucky foreigners who would like to join in this campaign. please do help me on how can i find out joining in this campaign. domo arigatoo gozaimasu.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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