Online Travel Authorization Platform for Foreign Visitors to be Introduced; Modeled on U.S.’ ESTA Program

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister’s Office

The government will introduce an online platform to allow foreign visitors to apply for travel authorization before embarking on their journey.

Foreign nationals eligible for the nation’s visa waiver program will be able to use the envisioned platform to report their reason for travel, where they plan to stay and other details in order to obtain authorization before heading for Japan.

The aim of the system is to bar any suspicious persons from boarding a plane at the airport of departure, in a bid to prevent them from working illegally in Japan or carrying out a terrorist attack.

Introducing such a platform was listed in the revised version of comprehensive measures to be implemented by the government to promote the acceptance of more foreign nationals and coexistence with them. The revised version was approved on Friday at a meeting of relevant ministers.

The government will design the envisioned platform and upgrade the immigration control system by referring to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization program run by the United States.

As a new “training and employment” program is set to start by 2027, replacing the technical intern training program, the revised measures also included measures to improve conditions for accepting foreign workers.