After banning almost all foreign travelers for over two years due to COVID-19, Japan will lift all remaining entry restrictions
After banning almost all foreign travelers for over two years due to COVID-19, Japan will lift all remaining entry restrictions today.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the move at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Until now, Japan maintained a strict cap of 50,000 visitors per day and only issued tourist visas to tour groups.
Concurrently, Japan has launched a domestic travel initiative, which offers financial assistance to vaccinated residents of Japan for domestic travel and to attend certain sports events and theme parks. Japan’s economy, which previously profited from around 31 million tourists annually until 2019, suffered greatly as a result of the pandemic. The Kishida administration is trying hard to reopen Japan’s economy, which shrank due to economic woes, including its heavily depreciated currency.
Japan’s weak Yen—which currently trades at its lowest against the US-dollar since the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997—may help attract visitors again. But China, traditionally its greatest source of visitors, will continue to contribute very few travelers while Beijing’s zero-COVID policy continues. Instead, Tokyo will likely hope to capitalize on recently improved relations with South Korea and an increased appetite for travel in Western and other Asian countries.