It’s official — Japan has finally announced that it would allow visa-free entry to independent tourists, removing the daily cap on arrivals from October 11 onwards, after almost two-and-a-half years of stringent restrictions imposed during the pandemic. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made the announcement on Thursday in New York while attending the UN General Assembly.
While supervised group tours to Japan have been available for the past few months, the restrictions on travel discouraged many people who wished to undertake self-guided tours of Japan. Finally the wait is over for those who wish to travel to Japan without restrictions.
In 2019, prior to the outbreak of the global pandemic, a record 31.9 million tourists visited Japan, with over 2 million visitors a month. The estimated monthly figure for August this year was 169,800, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. Earlier this month, Japan increased its daily entry cap to 50,000 from 20,000, after previously raising it from 10,000 in June.
The decision to re-open the border also comes amidst as Japan tries to recover from the pandemic and a depreciating yen, which hit a 24-year low against the dollar recently. Business leaders have said that fully allowing inbound travel will grease the economy since many tourists are likely to take advantage of the weak currency.
Inbound arrivals would need to be vaccinated three times or would have to submit a pre-arrival negative result for a Covid-19 test, according to Kyodo News.