Japan to open to visitors from low-risk countries, such as S'pore, but they must be in tour groups

Individual tourists travelling alone will not be granted entry.

Belmont Lay | May 27, 2022, 03:55 AM

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Japan will from June 10, 2022 let in tourists from 98 countries and territories, including Singapore, the United States, China, Australia and South Korea, Nikkei Asia and The Standard reported.

Details about the opening up of the land of the rising sun was released by the Japanese government on May 26.

No unescorted travellers

However, no individual tourist travelling alone will be granted entry.

Tour guides will accompany the groups to carefully monitor activities of visitors during the trips.

Visitors are to be part of guided tour groups sponsored by Japanese travel agencies and similar organisations that bring in visitors.

In other words, only escorted tour groups will be allowed.

"Blue" group of countries

Visitors from these approved 98 countries and territories are categorised into a "blue" group that constitutes the lowest-risk group, where even travellers unvaccinated against Covid-19 will also be allowed into Japan.

All travellers will be effectively exempted from virus testing and self-quarantine, even if they have not been vaccinated against Covid-19, according to NHK World.

Officials will start processing visas for the group tours on June 10, Nikkei Asia reported.

Slowly opening up

But this marks a significant change.

Border controls in Japan have been in place for about two years.

Japan prime minister Kishida Fumio said his government will double its current cap on the number of arrivals from overseas to 20,000 per day from June 1.

The figure will include foreign sightseers.

However, it will take time for Japan's inbound tourism to return to its pre-pandemic levels, when foreign visitors topped 30 million per year.

Since May 24, the transport and tourism ministry in Japan has been inviting travel company employees from Australia, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S. for small-scale test tours of Japan, Kyodo News reported.

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