Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says rules restricting tourists to package holidays will be lifted from next month.
Speaking in New York City, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said individual travel and visa-free entry will resume October 11 as the world’s third-largest economy seeks to reconnect with the world.
“We are a nation that has flourished through the free flow of people, goods and capital,” Kishida, who is in the United States before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), said Thursday.
“COVID-19 has, of course, interrupted all these benefits, but from October 11, Japan will relax border control measures to align with the US, and resume visa-free and individual travel.”
The move marks Japan as one of the last economies to restart mass tourism and travel, with only China yet to announce plans to lift its strict border controls.
Due to a partial easing of restrictions in place since June, Japan only allows tourists on package tours and has a daily arrival limit, currently set at 50,000. Travelers to the country must also apply for a visa.
The strict restrictions have led foreign tourists to largely avoid the country, with about 8,000 international visitors arriving in July, compared to about 3 million in the same month in 2019.
Tourist organizations and business groups had called on the government to reopen the borders and warned that Japan could be left behind while the rest of the world learns to live with the virus.