Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida recently announced plans to end requirements for pre-departure COVID-19 tests for travellers who have received at least three vaccine doses. The new rules are set to apply from September 7th.
He will also consider increasing daily entry caps as soon as next month. At the moment these are set at 20,000, with various reports suggesting the cap could be increased to 50,000.
Japan currently requires negative PCR test results within 72 hours of departure for all entrants.
Kishida told reporters,
“Our fight against the virus is not easy, but we should not be too afraid and instead take into consideration the characteristics of the omicron variant.. We will speed up our responses while balancing the infection measures and social and economic activities as much as possible.”
Japan partially opened its borders to foreign tourists in June for the first time since the pandemic began, but with significant restrictions. As well as the cap on daily entrant numbers, tourists must currently travel as part of a tour group.
As you would expect, the travel industry in Japan – like so many countries – has taken a huge hit over the last two years. Travel-related spending by foreigners plummeted from about $38 billion in 2019 to just under $1 billion in 2021, according to Nikkei Asia.
It remains unclear when a full relaxation of the Covid rules will take place, but this is clearly a significant and very welcome step for Japanese businesses and anyone who would like to visit.
Are you looking forward to visiting Japan again?