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thomas

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What I forgot to add is that - according to the PM - individual tourists will no longer be required to bring pre-arrival PCR tests as well as hire tour guides: non-escorted individual travel will be possible as of 7 September, limited only by the cap of 50,000 daily entries (and perhaps other local restrictions).

 

Petaris

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What I forgot to add is that - according to the PM - individual tourists will no longer be required to bring pre-arrival PCR tests as well as hire tour guides: non-escorted individual travel will be possible as of 7 September, limited only by the cap of 50,000 daily entries (and perhaps other local restrictions).

If there is a cap then you will still need to get a visa, so that is unfortunate as its another prerequisite to travel. I hope the former visa-waiver system is resumed prior to our next trip. Its busy enough without adding more to the to-do list before travel.
 

thomas

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Yesterday, 7 September, Japan relaxed its border measures by raising the daily cap on arrivals from 20,000 to 50,000 and dropping a pre-arrival test requirement. However, according to the travel industry, these measures will not translate into a surge of tourists unless they are given greater freedom to travel in the country. Individual ("non-escorted") tourists may now embark on "self-guided tours" that need to be booked by registered travel agencies.

Before Wednesday, guided tourists from nations designated as having a low risk of COVID-19 – referred to as "blue" countries, were able to enter. But now, Japan will allow tourists from higher-risk "yellow" and "red" countries as well. With the eased restrictions, the only tourists who won't be allowed will be those who want to stay in accommodations not offered by travel agencies in their package tour bookings, such as private rentals and smaller inns, as well as backpackers or others who don't want to book hotels in advance.

However, many travel agencies remain reluctant, as they could lose money if travellers get infected with the coronavirus and need assistance during their tours.

"It'll cost money to have someone on call around the clock in case something happens," said a travel agency official who asked to remain anonymous. "We'll need to look for interpreters, alternative accommodation and whatnot, and the cost would not cover the margins that we get from just arranging flights and hotels." In unguided tours, travel agencies are required to contact travelers to make sure they understand the protocols. If they develop symptoms of the coronavirus during the trip, they will be required to contact the travel agencies so they can be connected with necessary hospitals and public health centers, or accomodation where they can self-isolate. All Japan Tours, based in California, is offering a little bit of both — guided tours on some days and free time without a guide on the rest — to make sure visitors get sufficient support if they get sick.



Japan continues to suspend its visa exemptions, in contrast to neighbor South Korea which recently extended its visa waiver for Japanese citizens until the end of October. Travelers to Japan must apply for a visa, which takes five days to be issued in principle, and the fees for a single-entry visa are about 3,000 yen ($21). Additionally, packaged tours remain -- a particular turnoff.

 

thomas

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Good news for individual tourists: according to Nikkei, Japan is planning to remove the entry cap in October.

The removal of the 50,000 people-per-day cap alone won't return Japan's border to its pre-Covid openness, as non-resident foreigners are also currently required to obtain visas for short-term stays, and may enter for tourism only as part of approved package tours. According to the Nikkei, government officials are divided on when to remove these restraints. One proposal is to lift all three barriers at the same time, while others call for ditching the entry cap first and observing the results before allowing the return of individual tourism and visa waivers, the paper said.

Japan Plans to Scrap Daily Arrival Cap by October, Nikkei Says
 

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Very good news. I'm very optimistic about the possibility of visa-free travel to Japan soon. Within the year if numbers continue to drop.
That is a big "if" given this very troubling virus, but any bit of good news is welcome.
 

musicisgood

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So, currently Americans need a visa to enter Japan? If they have family here, how long can they stay?
 

mdchachi

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So, currently Americans need a visa to enter Japan? If they have family here, how long can they stay?
Yes but probably it will go back to normal soon. I don't think the restrictions on length of time were changed. (Max 90 days).
 

Petaris

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It may be dependent on your plan and visa application though. If you had planned to go for over a month maybe it would have been granted. I dunno.
That could be, maybe they just built in some leeway incase of cancelled flights or something. My application listed the arrival and departure dates.
 

thomas

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The media are now stalking foreign tourists, asking them about their impressions of "post-Covid" Japan and how much they spent on what. When a Singaporean couple stated they'd spent over one million JPY in a week, the "eeeeeehs" and "sugeeeeeees" wouldn't stop.




Meanwhile, the government is considering allowing hotels to refuse entry to guests who do not wear masks and follow other measures to control infection during an outbreak.

The government will submit a bill at an extraordinary session of parliament next month that would revise the law governing hotels and inns, allowing them more power to enforce infection measures, the network said. The move would come at a time when Japan is expected to further ease its COVID-19 border controls, waiving visa requirements for certain tourists and removing a limit on daily arrivals.

 

thomas

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Yesterday, the Japanese government provided more details on the tourism reopening:
  • Visitors from 68 countries and regions (including South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, the U.S. and the U.K.) will be allowed to enter visa-free, just like before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Visitors will need to show proof of having received three doses of coronavirus vaccines. Alternatively, they can provide a negative test result.
  • On 11 October, Japan will scrap the last of its on-arrival COVID-19 testing and self-quarantine protocols.
  • The public is still urged to take basic infection control measures. Many establishments and attractions continue to require face masks.

 
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