Japan will lift from October 11 the strict restrictions on foreign tourists imposed two years ago to fight the covid-19 pandemicas announced by his prime minister fumio kishida.
Speaking Thursday in New York, where he was taking part in the UN General Assembly, Kishida said that “as of October 11, Japan (will) ease border controls and re-authorize visa waiver and individual trips.
The share of daily arrivals to Japan had been rising steadily since the beginning of the year and recently stood at 50,000. This limit will also be lifted, Kishida added.
The yen weaknesswhich has lost 20% of its value against the dollar since the beginning of the year, should make Japan even more attractive to many visitors.
And an inflow of foreign exchange could help stop the decline of the national currency and give a boost to the economic recovery.
In June, the Japanese government authorized the return of foreign tourists, but only as part of package tours. This device had been lightened at the beginning of September to authorize individual stays, but still through a travel agency.
Fumio Kishida “took office a year ago knowing that the perception of clumsy management of the pandemic had been a key factor in the loss of public confidence” in his predecessor Yoshihide Suga, James Brady, a specialist in Japanese politics in the Teneo cabinet.
Therefore, Kishida was “extremely cautious not to repeat these same mistakes,” added the analyst.
Japan did not resort to confinement during the pandemic, but the use of masks, without being imposed by the authorities, is still very widespread in public places and transport. The mortality rate attributable to the coronavirus has been relatively low (less than 35 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants).
In the streets of Tokyo, the reactions were rather positive on Friday. “I think it’s a good thing to progressively bring foreign tourists here,” said Michio Kano, 76, who runs a bar.
Although what I would like is for this measure to be followed by the reduction of anticovid standards. “You can’t relax the rules for foreigners and keep telling the Japanese ‘do this, do that’.”