Nationwide campaign to promote travel postponed

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito speaks to reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday.

The government announced Thursday the postponement of its nationwide tourism promotion program, which had been scheduled to start in the first half of July, due to a feared resurgence of the coronavirus.

Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito said the starting date of the program will be determined after assessing the infection situation.

The program is a nationwide version of the travel discount campaign currently in place for travel within prefectures or designated regions. The ongoing campaign will be extended through the end of August.

“We decided we can’t implement the nationwide campaign amid the current situation,” said Saito after meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the Prime Minister’s Office. “The government will continue to closely monitor the infection situation, and swiftly start the program if there is any improvement.”

The government had said it would launch the nationwide campaign in the first half of July, on condition that the infection situation improved. Its decision to postpone was made after experts pointed to the increase in new infections in all prefectures and voiced concerns about further expansion, at a Wednesday meeting of a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry panel.

Prefectural governments have the final say on whether to implement the current discount campaign, which has been extended until the end of August to include the Bon Festival period.