Japan will reopen to tourists for the first time in more than two years from 10 June, with visitors from 98 countries to be allowed in without needing to be vaccinated.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the new measure late last week, although the first phase of reopening will require all tourists to be part of a tour group. There is no word yet as to when Japan will allow for the return of individual tourists.
Nevertheless, Kishida described reopening as an important step forward for the economy.
“Active exchanges between people are the foundation of the economy and society,” he said while delivering a speech at the Future of Asia conference in Tokyo. “From the 10th of next month, we will restart the admission of tourists on guided package tours.”
The eased border regulations will see tourists classified into one of three groups based on their country of origin. Those in the 98-country “Group Blue” – which includes the likes of China, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, the United States, UK, New Zealand and Thailand – will require no vaccination, no PCR testing upon arrival and no hotel quarantine.
Group Yellow, comprising most African and Eastern European nations, plus the likes of Portugal, Sri Lanka, North Korea and Saudi Arabia, will require a negative test on and three days of home quarantine although neither is required if they show a valid vaccination certificate.
Group Red countries – Albania, Fiji, Pakistan and Sierra Leone – face a mandatory home quarantine period.
The relaxed measures come after Japan welcomed more than 100,000 monthly visitors for the first time in more than two years in April, with an estimated 139,500 foreign visitors entering the country, according to figures from the Japan National Tourism Organization.
A daily cap of 10,000 visitor arrivals, which includes business travellers, will be doubled to 20,000 from 1 June.