According to the Nikkei, which did not specify where it got its information, Japan is making preparations to abolish its daily cap on foreign arrivals by October and will consider removing any other remaining hurdles to international tourism at the same time.
As non-resident foreigners are now obliged to obtain visas for short-term visits and may only enter for tourism as part of approved package tours, removing the 50,000 person daily quota alone won’t allow Japan’s border to reopen to the public as it did prior to the Covid treaty.
Government officials disagree on when to lift these restrictions, the Nikkei reports. One suggestion is to remove all three restrictions at once, while others suggest removing the admission cap first and evaluating the impact before reintroducing individual tourism and visa waivers, according to the newspaper.
Seiji Kihara, the deputy chief cabinet secretary, stated earlier on Sunday that the government will further ease its tourism regulations at a “appropriate time” in order to prevent Japan from “falling behind” the rest of the globe.
Japan’s reopening has been gradual, with the daily admission limit being lifted in phases and initial requirements for tour groups to be chaperoned at all times. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had earlier this year promised to make Japan as easy to visit as other Group of Seven nations. A record 31.9 million foreign tourists visited Japan in 2019, but only 246,000 did so in 2018.
The Kishida administration believes that travel restrictions should be loosened during the fall because it will be challenging to act later if winter brings a rise in Covid-19 infections, according to the Nikkei.