Japan is finally considering to end the pre-arrival Covid tests for vaccinated travelers coming from foreign countries, according to local media.
Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, also hinted at eased border controls in a virtual news conference on Monday. The decision to ease restricstions would depend on the daily Covid count being reported in the country.
Inbound arrivals to Japan are currently required to submit proof of a negative Covid test result conducted within 72 hours of departure. Rapid antigen tests are not accepted.
Japan, which has one of the strictest entry rules or inbound arrivals, has been easing restrictions in a phased manner. In June, the country doubled the daily cap for arrivals at border crossings to 20,000 in June and allowed foreign tourists on escorted package tours to enter from June 10.
However, only around 1,500 foreign tourists entered Japan in the month up to July 10 since the country re-opened on June 10, noted Japan’s Immigration Services Agency. An earlier Skift story had also observed that Japan welcomed more refugees from Ukraine than foreign tourists since reopening.
In 2019, before the pandemic struck, Japan hosted 32 million foreign visitors, who spent $38 billion.
The rise in the daily number of cases from July onwards has put the easing of restrictions on hold. However, with the scrapping of pre-arrival tests, the government may also consider raising the number of people allowed every day to enter the country, according to Nikkei Asia.
The Japanese tourism sector has been urging the government to scrap entry restrictions to help boost the sector.