Japan is making arrangements to end its daily limit on arrivals from overseas by October, and will consider removing other remaining barriers to foreign tourism at the same time, the Nikkei reported without saying where it obtained the information.
The removal of the 50,000 people-per-day cap alone will not return Japan's border to its pre-Covid openness, as non-resident foreigners are also currently required to obtain visas for short-term stays, and may enter for tourism only as part of approved package tours.
According to the Nikkei, government officials are divided on when to remove these restraints. One proposal is to lift all 3 barriers at the same time, while others call for ditching the entry cap first and observing the results before allowing the return of individual tourism and visa waivers, the paper said.
Earlier on Sunday (Sep 11), Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara told a Japanese TV programme that the government will further relax its tourism rules at an "appropriate time" because Japan "must not fall behind" the rest of the world.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged earlier this year to make Japan as easy to visit as other Group of Seven nations, but the country's reopening has been piecemeal, with the daily entry limit being loosened in stages and tour groups initially required to be chaperoned at all times. Japan had about 246,000 foreign visitors last year, far off a record 31.9 million in 2019.
The Kishida administration is of the view that it should ease travel restrictions during the autumn, and it will be difficult to make a move later if winter brings a resurgence in Covid-19 infections, the Nikkei said. Bloomberg