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Friday, June 10, 2022

Japan Reopens To Package Foreign Tourism

Above, a Mothra mural at Toho Studios in Setagaya. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today's the day that Japan begins welcoming foreign tourists into the country. Tourists have to enter with organized tourist groups, no individual tourism is allowed.

But, in order to do so, tourists have to wear masks, have insurance and have a visa, which can take weeks to obtain. Thanks to the visa requirement, it will likely take a few weeks before Japan sees tourist groups roaming around.

Fox 31 Denver reports (some snippets):

TOKYO (AP) — Japan on Friday eased its borders for foreign tourists and began accepting visa applications, but only for those on guided package tours who are willing to follow mask-wearing and other antivirus measures as the country cautiously tries to balance business and infection worries.

Friday is the first day to start procedures needed for the entry and arrivals are not expected until late June at the earliest, even though airport immigration and quarantine offices stood by for any possible arrivals.

The Japan Tourism Agency says tours are being accepted from 98 countries and regions, including the United States, Britain, China, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore, which are deemed as having low infection risks.

After facing criticism that its strict border controls were xenophobic, Japan began easing restrictions earlier this year. On June 1, it doubled its cap on daily entries to 20,000 people a day, including Japanese citizens, foreign students and some business travelers.

The daily limit will include the package tour participants for the time being, and officials say it will take some time before foreign visitors can come to Japan for free, individual tourism.

It’s unclear how popular the package tours options will be with foreign tourists, most of whom have to apply for tourist visas that can take weeks to obtain. But the yen is trading at 20-year lows against the U.S. dollar and weak against other major currencies, which would make traveling in the high-cost country something of a bargain.

To read the full article, go here

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