Japan to reopen to mass tourism from October

Japan will scrap tough pandemic-related border restrictions from October, paving the way for mass tourism for the first time in two and a half years.Speaking in New York City, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said individual travel and visa-free entry would resume from October 11 as the world’s third-largest economy seeks to reconnect with the world.

“COVID-19, of course, interrupted all of these benefits, but from October 11, Japan will relax border control measures to be on par with the US, as well as resume visa-free travel and individual travel.” Kishida, who is in the United States for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), said on Thursday.

Under a partial easing of restrictions in place since June, Japan only allows tourists on packaged tours and has a cap on daily arrivals, currently set at 50,000. Travellers to the country must also apply for a visa.

Despite its isolation, Japan recorded some of the highest numbers of COVID cases in the world last month, with daily infections topping 250,000, although the country’s cumulative death toll remains among the lowest worldwide.Gary Bowerman, director of travel and tourism research firm Check-in Asia, said Japan’s reopening would be “a key barometer” of the recovery of travel in the Asia Pacific, which has lagged other parts of the world.

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