Sunday October 02, 2022

Japan to lift Covid restrictions on foreign tourist arrivals

September 23, 2022

NEW YORK: Japan on Thursday announced that it will lift tough Covid restrictions on foreign tourists, reopening the borders after two and a half years.

"Finally, Japan will reopen the border," Digital Minister Taro Kono wrote on Twitter. "Visa waiver is back, no daily limit and free individual visits." He made the announcement ahead of a speech at the New York Stock Exchange by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is attending the UN General Assembly and is expected to offer details on the easing of entrance rules.

Japan, along with China, has been a holdout in continuing tough restrictions on visitors as much of the world has moved on from the pandemic. Japan, by contrast, never imposed a strict lockdown during the pandemic.

Tourists who will come to Japan will enjoy a weak yen, which has plummeted so low against the dollar that the finance ministry earlier Thursday intervened in the currency market for the first time since 1998. The return of the visa-waiver programme suspended in March 2020 will restore the ease of access that saw a record 31.9 million foreign visitors to the country in 2019.