Japan cautiously opens its borders to foreign tourists

Japan cautiously opens its borders to foreign tourists

The government in Tokyo announced on Tuesday, for the first time in two years, that Japan is once again hosting tourists from four countries (the United States, Australia, Thailand and Singapore) with conditions.

Tourists can visit the country on an organized excursion, accompanied by official guides and pre-arranged itineraries. Entry is conditional on three coronavirus vaccinations and the conclusion of a private health insurance contract, according to a statement issued by the Japan Tourism Board.

Japan closed its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic and only recently started raising the borders.

Since March, foreigners, including students and guest workers, have been accepted into Japan on business trips again, but in limited numbers: tens of thousands a day. According to local media reports, this number will double in June.

Japan has so far banned entry to foreign tourists. In other countries, on the other hand, where similar strict restrictions have been imposed (Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Singapore), the borders have already been opened in recent months.

The tourism office said that tourists arriving this month must take a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours before the trip or repeat it on arrival.

Before the pandemic, Japan devoted an increasing importance to tourism in its economy. In 2019, it received 31.9 million foreign visitors, a new record, and in 2020, when the Summer Olympics were scheduled, 40 million visitors were expected.

Because of the pandemic, that goal failed, and Tokyo eventually held the Olympics behind closed doors in 2021.

Cover image illustration.

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