It’s official — Japan has finally announced that it would allow visa-free entry to independent tourists, removing the daily cap on arrivals from October 11 onwards, after almost two-and-a-half years of stringent restrictions imposed during the pandemic.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made the announcement on Thursday in New York while attending the UN General Assembly.
Inbound arrivals would need to be vaccinated three times or would have to submit a pre-arrival negative result for a Covid-19 test, according to Kyodo News.
Before the pandemic, Japan allowed visa-free entry for short-term visitors from 68 countries, including the U.S.
To encourage domestic tourism, the Japanese government will also be bringing back the nationwide travel discount program that had been discontinued after the rise in Covid cases.
Dubbing the step an effort to support the tourism, entertainment and industries that have been the worst-affected during the pandemic, Kishida hoped news of the full reopening would encourage more people to be a part of the program.
While Japan had been easing restrictions in a phased manner even since it reopened to foreign tourists in June, the government still required tourists to apply for a short-term visa enter the country as part of approved package tours through a recognized travel agency.