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Japan to increase entry cap on arrivals to 50,000 from Sept 7

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With the country lagging behind other major economies in opening its doors to inbound tourism, foreign tourists will no longer need to travel on tours with a guide, Kishida said.

Before people get too excited, to clarify, tourists will still need to come via a pre-booked tour, just not with a guide the whole time (so not independent tourists).

And the tour company still needs to provide ERFS papers so that tourists can get a tourist visa before coming at a J-embassy.

20 ( +24 / -4 )

Good. Going in the right direction.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Japan is still effectively closed for individual/independent travel. If they lifted the cap to 100 million it wouldn't make a difference.

Kyoto was absolutely dead today.

24 ( +30 / -6 )

It's still not fully open to tourism as prospective tourists need to pre-book a tour from an approved agency. So it's effectively like a solo guided tour. No thanks.

18 ( +23 / -5 )

Hmmm is it really a good idea when virus is spreading rapidly within Japan?

-32 ( +6 / -38 )

So ridiculous when they are nowhere near using the cap that already exists. You still have to take. Koryo Tours style captive tour, so no one in their right minds is bothering to come. You’ll see nothing on your own schedule, eat nowhere but the pre-picked restaurants, and shop nowhere but the tour-agency-affiliated shops.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

We are raising the daily cap on new arrivals to 50,000 from Sept 7 to join the trend

Shakes head. Moronic Kishida. You and Japan are nothing like other nations regarding covid rules.

So far behind its laughable and amazing the world doesn't really call you out on your crap.

-2 ( +21 / -23 )

Good grief....absolutely archaic. Stop mentioning the other G7 countries when you are miles behind them in terms of border restrictions.

-3 ( +21 / -24 )

Fabulous news .!. The borders are becoming flood gates .!. I can see all the tourists y’all have been begging for.!: Get ready .!. Here they come .!:

-18 ( +5 / -23 )

Divinda is right, and I agree with others that this is not enough, but it is a step in a good direction and this is likely to be a transitory rule.

But I believe that for now, there is enough JPN demand for international travel to fill up most of the allocated 50K/day space.

I am sorry, I do not have concrete evidence. It is merely my perception, so grain of salt time.

But I too am looking forward to visa-free travel (for others, I am a PR myself). The economy could really use it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Closing the borders to foreign tourists only makes about as much sense as raising half of your flood barriers and leaving the other half wide open - of course, the flood waters simply go through the open gates and the raised barriers make absolutely no difference whatsoever. It must rank right up there among the most pointless and stupid public health measures implemented anywhere in modern times.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

I am hearing from friends who work in the tourist industry that the industry is making huge profits this year and that they had massive bonuses this summer. I am scratching my head wondering how this is possible.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I don't understand why this is a big deal.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

But I believe that for now, there is enough JPN demand for international travel to fill up most of the allocated 50K/day space.

I agree, I think a lot of people will want to take advantage of the weak yen and the 'ease of entry' without the PCR test to make the effort to get the visa. And there aren't going to be many Chinese tourists clogging up the place for a while yet, it's a good time to visit if you can put the time in.

But they really should drop the rules regarding guided tours, it's beyond redundant. I'd like to know the real reason that they are holding on to this.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

North Korean style tour is still necessary.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

So what?

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Yawn, yawn...

Usually traveled 2 times per year to Japan for business and visiting my girlfriend. With this I left a total of USD 20,000.- holiday money each year in the country. The business money not spent there is much much higher. Last three years that money was spent in other welcoming countries. 2023 travel plans are already made again outside Japan. In addition to this my girlfriend doesn't stay in Japan either. That makes the little total till now a USD 60,000.- for the 4 years. Ok, I know, other people spend much more. Just imagine the millions of tourists money in total that are not flowing into Japan.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

All this wait and still restricted by tour packages. tourist who buy these package would only be less than 10% of what Japan tourists used to be.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

To save face he’s doing it in steps incase things go you know. Just got back from 6 weeks in a lovely winter. the entry into japan was smooth took about 40 min from plane to bags. Airport’s a ghost town compared to singapore. We’ll open hopefully by next July ? Caught the C on the journey in July to Aust, it was sooo mild we didn’t know we had it till we took a rat test, not before unknowingly infecting all our friends. Everyone who got it lived!! No big deal.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

You still have to take. Koryo Tours style captive tour, so no one in their right minds is bothering to come. 

Exactly right... And it's a right pain to get it organised.

It is a lot more simple to get a business visa and come into Japan for up to 90 days and go wherever the hell you want. Have done this 3 times this year so far myself.

Even if someone come to Japan for one hour long biz meeting (that mysteriously gets cancelled) and then stays on for a further 89 days it's no problem.

So it's a ridiculous system at present and so many local businesses are suffering because of the government's weakness and procrastination.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

But they really should drop the rules regarding guided tours, it's beyond redundant. I'd like to know the real reason that they are holding on to this.

True... but they have no understanding of anything else and are baffled that most of the planet does not take only organised & structured tours.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan's decrepit politicians are causing the country to descend further and further into irrelevancy on a daily basis.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Nihon Tora …. I rarely agree with you on anything…. But your “flood gates” half open is a great analogy.!. Much like the PANDEMIC too .!. It’s still a full blown zero percent contained….. and the jgov is just letting it burn further out of control…. Leading the world in every possible metric.!. But whatever…. The borders are fully opening up to the responsibly vaccinated majority.!. Great news .!.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The elaborate kabuki performance continues yet no one is entertained or understands why.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

But they really should drop the rules regarding guided tours, it's beyond redundant. I'd like to know the real reason that they are holding on to this.

Requiring a travel agency serves few functions:

if a tourist gets Covid, the agency is then responsible for assisting and arranging hospital and/or quarantine. They would do this probably via phone or email, and need to do any translation too.

booking via an agent would prevent foreigner tourists from getting the Go To Travel discounts when they finally start the campaign again.

booking via an agent means only "approved" hotels can be booked, so not ones that don't have "proper" Covid guidelines.

and with bookings via an agency, if a hotel prefers to not have foreigners staying there, they can discreetly opt out of allowing such bookings without the Twitter Army calling them out for racism.
3 ( +6 / -3 )

Just to play devil’s advocate, I’ll try and offer a positive spin. I’m sure that once a savvy tourist registers with an agency (they pick up their fees) and works out an ‘itinerary’ without the need for a guide (as stipulated) that the agency is happy with, wouldn’t it be easy to go it alone and travel independently? It seems like these new rules are designed to be circumvented.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@Stephen

You beat me to it! This is exactly what I was thinking of doing every since this rumored unguided tour package thing got leaked. They'll more be used as a go between in the case you get the Vid and register your positive with the authorites. If a full reopening isn't happening by mid December I'm definitely getting crafty with a 'planned itinerary' in order to do my own thing.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

ok so all who did not get vaccinated still must pay big money for tests?

just wanted to know...

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Japan is still missing out on the 45 billion annual tourist revenue because tourists are still not allowed.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The secret is that no one is really counting anyway.... no changes to anything.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

family members of foreign residents still need a visa to enter the country=no change, borders are still closed..

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Yes @Eastman : That's right. And correct. But of course, you'll just tell us you 'don't want' to travel.

Pre flight tests will just become more expensive anyway as less and less people need them.

You ARE the minority and fair or otherwise you will be treated as such should you wish to re enter Japan.

And let's be clear these rules are for Japanese Citizens too, so there can be no xenophobic claims.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Ultimately pointless getting unhappy until we know the details. The article on Japan Times mentions travel agencies or sponsors who need to be available if a tourist gets covid so may be as simple as getting someone in Japan to do this for you. Hopefully we will know more early next week.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why 50,000? Is this number scientifically determined?

In Japan? You wish.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

still need a visa to enter the country=no change

Visa means borders open. What are you talking about?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Still need to be booked on a tour, still need a visa. Lifting the cap may make air tickets a bit cheaper.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is a terrible and oh so wrong decision that will open the floodgates into Japan of as yet to be determined and potentially fatal variants of the coronavirus. Follow China’s exemplary lead on this - zero covid, zero deaths.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

@G&T. Your time has passed. There is nothing exemplary about China's treatment of their population. Huge cities cut off. People living on junk food supplied by the Government. Supplies of vital medicines prevented. Suppression of social media.

Zero Covid is not only impossible, do you REALLY believe that's what China has achieved? They lie month after month and year after year about their economic data - what makes this any different. Chine is cut off from the world, and you know what? I reckon the Government is quite happy with it.

No longer anything to do with Covid.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Before people get too excited, to clarify, tourists will still need to come via a pre-booked tour, just not with a guide the whole time (so not independent tourists).

And the tour company still needs to provide ERFS papers so that tourists can get a tourist visa before coming at a J-embassy."

So then its just another in the line of half baked , sitting on both sides of fence decisions - LDP tradition at it's best. Expect heads being scratched after a couple of months of wondering why tourists are not flooding here before another easing to be" in line with other G7 nations.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

The best way to summarize any announcement the Japanese government makes regarding "relaxed" rules for entry is a quote from the popular TV series Seinfeld.

It's a show about nothing!

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Zero Covid is not only impossible, do you REALLY believe that's what China has achieved?

I agree with you in principle that Zero Covid causes economic devastation and results in a completely unlivable society. Lockdowns are against everything I stand for in principle.

However I do agree with him that China has done a better job of keeping cases and deaths relatively low compared to other countries in the world. Unfortunately, if you want to prevent Covid deaths, forceful lockdowns under threat of punishment are probably the only way to do so - if you can't catch Covid, you can't die of Covid. I would certainly argue lockdowns have prevented more deaths than the vaccines.

Which is why I think we need to ask this question: do you want to live free or not? If you want the former, I think it is time to abandon all restrictions and Covid measures for all people, vaccinated or not. Otherwise, why not just forcefully vaccinate everyone and shut down cities any time a positive case appears? I mean it will save peoples lives, won't it?

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

If they lifted the cap to 100 million it wouldn't make a difference. 

Correct. Even today the entrants are lagging behind the current cap - why raise the cap except as a show of grand gestures that serves no-one. Official observers of nations with whom Japan has agreed on visa-exempt travel are probably going to raise the point again: claims on necessity due to health security lack all credibility.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

NOW the VISA FREE 90 days stay is STILL NO AVAILABLE..One must apply for a damn visa at a Japanese embassy..soooooooo I am not going to visit Japan again UNTIL I can enter visa free, no agency, no tour guide, no nothing....NORMAL entry I will return...

8 ( +9 / -1 )

A step in the right direction

Japan is a left turn only nation like kendo or Nascar.

Kinda dithering in circles.

Besides its barely a step .

More like a shuffle or a slither.

Appears more incompetent than cautious.

Too ridiculously slow in my opinion.

Oh well

Enjoy it whilst you can.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

And by the way there's no such thing as zero covid.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Nope, no thanks.

I know where I want to go.

No canned hunts

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Still too much, People will not want to come if they have to take a test and have 3 shots

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They can raise the limit to a million and nothing will change untill they eliminate the visa requirement. Crazy Japanese wearing masks while walking outdoors on the street. Fun vacation...not.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Yatta Yatta!! Nihon is openingu uppu!! Can't wait to go back homu!

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

If Japan doesn't vaccine the 70-80% of population they never stop to spread the virus and get sick , they never will go back the life of before , open open , vaccine vaccine , to close the board to who has 3 shot , tested negative before and after travel doesn't make sense it doesn't help , in all countries the gov. push to be vaccinated and open every things , but Japan is Japan very tough !

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I was watching the initial speech he gave this morning on NHK, and he said that the group tour restriction was going to be lifted - which would be inline with complaints from local Tourism bodies... was the Translation wrong ?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This does not make sense:

Starting on Sept 7, incoming travelers who have been vaccinated at least three times will no longer need to show proof of a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test result

So as an unvaccinated passenger, I can be sitting alongside a vaccinated COVID positive passenger who will give me the virus en-route to Japan, and I will potentially become Positive and transmit it to the locals during my visit to Japan ? Once infected, symptoms aren't immediately apparent... so a couple of days later after arrival...

Kishida has COVID, he's fully vaccinated right ? Why is he quarantining ?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

So as an unvaccinated passenger, I can be sitting alongside a vaccinated COVID positive passenger who will give me the virus en-route to Japan, and I will potentially become Positive and transmit it to the locals during my visit to Japan ?

Probably not. I don't think you're allowed into Japan if your unvaccinated.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

So as an unvaccinated passenger

As an unvaccinated passenger, you’re one of the main reason why we are still in this pandemic.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

JTC : Yes & No.

Yes you would obviously get contaminated but NO, they won’t even let you board the plane without your Shot / Immunization Record.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Tourism, we need to keep it to a minimum in this extremely over populated country. Over the summer break, my wife and I spent a week in Kyoto, it was wonderful, hardly anyone on the streets, except for the odd masked up locals.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Closing the borders to foreign tourists only makes about as much sense as raising half of your flood barriers and leaving the other half wide open - of course, the flood waters simply go through the open gates and the raised barriers make absolutely no difference whatsoever. It must rank right up there among the most pointless and stupid public health measures implemented anywhere in modern times.

I hear you, but you don't really know Japan very well. There are many a hypochondriac here, but also this is pandering to racists who vote Jimin. They are quite happy the way things are.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

But I will wait until Japanese people are ready to accept unvaccinated people.

I wouldn't imagine they will stop that for years and years. If ever.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Japan is still battling its seventh wave of coronavirus infections,

Really?!? "Battling"?

Still with this nonsense. There is no "battle"....Japan is NOT under siege from hordes of covid ravaged people dying on the streets....people are quietly getting sick for a few days with flu-like symptoms, staying home from work till they are better and going back to work....there is no hardship. Stop with the inflated rhetoric

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Won't matter. They still require you to book tickets through travel agencies and want to know your whereabouts the whole time, want you to wear a mask while the locals at best warm their chins with them, etc. Still not worth it, and people are still going elsewhere.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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