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Sunday, December 20, 2015

New Travel Policies Targeting Foreign Tourists In Japan

Above, the Great Buddha of Kamakura. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Have you ever purchased travel insurance for a vacation to Japan or, for that matter, anywhere else?

I have. Once. I bought travel insurance through Sita World Travel, who was handling the 2004 G-TOUR to Japan. The rate was good and, since I was not in control over different aspects of the trip (ground transportation, etc.) and I would be with 59 other people who could possibly pass on a virus or something requiring hospitalization, I thought it would probably be a good idea to buy it.

It actually turned out that one member of the tour had to use his travel insurance as he became deathly ill at the time we were in Kamakura visiting the Great Buddha. He had to be taken by ambulance to a local hospital and then he was transferred to another hospital in Yokohama. He ended up being hospitalized in Japan some time after we had returned home. So, his travel insurance policy came in very handy in his case. Imagine the bill he would have received had he not had travel insurance!

Since then, I have not purchased travel insurance to any of my subsequent Japan trips (or to anywhere else). I am probably taking a chance not doing so. But that's just me. Maybe I will as I get a little more older and, statistically, more fragile.

But, some people don't even give travel insurance a thought. Maybe they'd buy some if the opportunity glaringly presented itself.

But, our good friends in Japan are making that task a little bit easier for foreign travelers as some Japanese insurers are making travel insurance available to them in Japan.

According to the Nikkei Asian Review:
TOKYO -- Japanese nonlife insurers are developing and selling travel insurance in a bid to capitalize on demand from the record number of tourists flocking to the country. 
The number of foreigners traveling to Japan between January and November jumped 48% on the year to 17.96 million, data from the Japan National Tourism Organization shows. Around 30% of visitors reportedly lack travel insurance. 
MS&AD Insurance Group units Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance will launch in late December insurance for Japanese hotels and leisure facilities. Companies will pay an average of around 2,000 yen to 3,000 yen ($16.20 to $24.29) per person to provide coverage for their guests, aiming to attract tourists hesitant to buy insurance themselves.
This sounds like a good idea and it may even be cheaper to buy travel insurance in Japan as the exchange rate between the dollar and yen makes Japanese goods and services a bargain for U.S. travelers.

To read more, go here.

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