From October 11, Japan will lift the border restrictions imposed on foreign tourists more than two years ago to fight the pandemic, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Thursday (22), in a move that should revive the local tourist industry.
There will no longer be a daily limit on the entry of tourists, who will also be able to visit the country on their own — currently, only visits by tourist agencies are allowed. In addition, a visa imposed during the pandemic will no longer be necessary, unlike today.
The lifting of restrictions on tourists comes at a time when the country’s deadliest wave of the pandemic is weakening. It also coincides with the yen’s fall to its lowest levels against the dollar in 25 years, making the archipelago a cheaper and more attractive destination for visitors from abroad.
Discounts for domestic travel will also be introduced, the prime minister added. After experiencing a tourism boom before the pandemic, airlines, hotels and retailers are looking to recover lost business.
Before the pandemic, Japan allowed visitors from 68 countries and regions to stay in the country for up to 90 days without a visa – Brazilians need the document to travel.
Tourist numbers hit a record high of nearly 32 million in 2019, dropping to around 246,000 last year. Daily arrivals to the country have been steadily increasing since the beginning of this year, recently reaching the figure of 50,000 people a day.
The government is still considering changing a law that allows hotels to refuse guests who refuse to comply with sanitary measures. Unlike in many countries, masks remain in near-universal use in Japan, although there is currently no legal obligation to wear them.
The death rate from Covid in the country – which did not have major lockdowns and until June had about 80% of the population vaccinated with at least two doses – was relatively low: less than 35 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.