JAPAN DECLEARS PLANS TO REOPEN FOREIGN TOURISTS IN JUNE 2022 AFTER TWO YEARS OF PANDEMIC CLOSURE
Japan will open its borders to foreign tourists in June for the first time since imposing tight pandemic travel restrictions about two years ago, but only for package excursions for now.
Beginning June 10, Japan will allow the entry of people on tours with fixed schedules and guides, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.
Japanese government has announced it will end a two-year pandemic closure and reopen to tourists from 98 countries and regions – including Britain, the US, France, Spain, Canada and Malaysia – next month, but travelers will only be allowed in as part of the tour groups.
The decision came after the government announced last week that beginning this month, it will try allowing small group trips with visitors from the United States, Australia, Thailand, and Singapore.
Japan will also add Naha in southern Okinawa and New Chitose in Sapporo in northern Hokkaido, bringing the total number of international airports in the country to seven.
For the most of the pandemic, Japan has refused access to all tourists, allowing only citizens and foreign residents to enter, but even these have been denied on occasion.
Before arriving to Japan, all visitors must test negative for Covid, and many must be tested again after they arrive, however triple-vaccinated visitors from select countries can skip the additional test as well as the three-day quarantine necessary for others.
Tour companies are expected to take responsibility for ensuring that visitors follow Japan’s near-universal mask-wearing policy and other steps that have helped keep the Covid toll low.
It’s unclear how many people will be able to take advantage of the cautious reopening, as Japan plans to increase the daily admittance cap to 20,000 people.
Fumio Kishida, the Prime Minister, has stated that he intends to relax border control measures, although progress is expected to be sluggish due to strong public support for the current limitations.
Before the epidemic, Japan had welcomed a record 31.9 million international visitors in 2019 and was on track to reach its goal of 40 million in 2020.