Japan Drops COVID Requirement;
Reinstates Visa Waiver

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida used the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City to rescind many of its pre-COVID regulations against foreign visitors.

Kishida stated that the visa-waiver program would restart on October 11. More than 60 nationalities (including the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia) will be able to enter Japan without a visa as before the COVID-19 pandemic. And, Japan is also set to allow individual foreigners to enter the country – previously, foreign tourists could only visit Japan as part of a tour group.

The hope is these moves will revive Japan’s tourism sector. The number of foreign visitors to Japan last month were down more than 93% when compared to pre-COVID volumes. Japan’s marquee event, the 2020 Summer Olympics (which were rescheduled to 2021) – which should have been a tourism bonanza, was held without foreign fans. Tourism-focused businesses have been asking the government to waive COVID restrictions as their income suffered.

Japan further announced caps on the number of tourists allowed to enter the country each day would be removed, and domestic airfares would be reduced.

Some COVID restrictions will remain in place in Japan. A law is currently being debated that would allow hotels to bar entry to guests who refuse to wear masks. Mask-wearing in public was common in Japan even before the COVID pandemic.

Keep following our CIBTvisas blog for more information. And for help in getting documents for your travel to Japan, or anywhere else in the world, contact us today!

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