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    《TAIPEI TIMES》 Japan to reopen to some foreign tourists from June 10

    Tourists gather outside a shop during the Golden Week holiday in Kyoto, Japan, on May 3.
Photo: Bloomberg

    Tourists gather outside a shop during the Golden Week holiday in Kyoto, Japan, on May 3. Photo: Bloomberg

    2022/05/27 03:00

    / Bloomberg

    Japan is set to allow in some package-tour tourists from overseas starting on June 10, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said yesterday, ending a ban that was introduced about two years ago as part of the country’s COVID-19 control program.

    “Active exchanges between people are the foundation of the economy and society,” Kishida said in a speech at the Future of Asia conference in Tokyo. “From the 10th of next month, we will restart the admission of tourists on guided package tours.”

    He added that preparations would begin to allow international flights to land at New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido and Naha Airport in Okinawa starting next month.

    Tourist numbers are likely to remain limited at first. Japan has already announced it would double its cap on arrivals from overseas to 20,000 per day starting next month, although this remains far below the levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Kishida pledged in a London speech to make it as easy to enter Japan as other G7 nations.

    Kishida has come under pressure from business lobbies to further open the borders, as the travel industry is losing out on what could have been a windfall from the weak yen. The prime minister must also avoid alienating a public wary of the potential health implications ahead of a July election for the Japanese House of Councilors.

    A poll published by Mainichi Shimbun over the weekend found that 43 percent of respondents were in favor of relaxing border controls, while 41 percent were against the idea.

    Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said this month that the easing of restrictions would mean about 80 percent of arrivals would be able to enter the country without undergoing testing on arrival, or quarantine.

    Countries and regions would be divided into three categories — red, yellow and blue — depending on their assessed virus risk, according to a joint statement from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other ministries.

    Travelers arriving from countries or regions on the blue list would be able to bypass quarantine as long as they pass a pre-departure polymerase chain reaction test, the foreign ministry said.

    Those on the yellow list must provide proof of vaccination with selected vaccines to skip quarantine.

    The South China Morning Post yesterday reported that Japan is considering putting Hong Kong on the blue list, citing an unidentified person.

    新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES

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