JAPAN is planning to reopen its borders to tourists from overseas from June with government officials weighing up how to gradually ease other Covid restrictions.
Comments by Japanese Prime Minister Funmio Kishida on a visit to London are reported as the most positive sign yet that the country may open to foreign tour groups on June 1 and continue a ”period of transition back to normal life”.
Kishida said the easing of the ban on foreign tourists would be carried out in stages with arrivals having to show proof of three vaccination shots.
Japan had earlier allowed non-tourist arrivals from 106 countries at a cap of 10,000 per day who are permitted to enter for business and education purposes. Media in Japan report that officials are looking at doubling that cap on the number of daily arrivals to 20,000.
“We will further relax controls, so that in June it will be possible to enter the country as smoothly as other G7 nations,” Kishida told media in London.
Officials are reported to be analysing statistics to assess any Covid outbreaks during the Golden Week holiday in Japan before making their decision on allowing tourists to return. Rules on mandatory mask-wearing outdoors are also being reconsidered.
The opening up may begin with small tour groups, according to media reports, and the prime minister’s comments are seen as a lifeline for Japan’s hard hit tourism industry.