Test project to reopen Japan’s borders to group tourists

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Foreign tourists are seen at Kansai Airport in October 2018.

About 50 overseas tourists will be allowed into Japan on group trips this month as part of a test project led by the government, it was announced Tuesday.

Japan is considering whether to reopen its borders to group tourists from June. According to Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Tetsuo Saito, the government will use the test project to study concrete measures to effectively manage such tourists’ activities and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“The international flow of people between Japan and other countries, including tourists, is extremely important for Japan’s economic activities and the revitalization of regions. We will gather the necessary information to resume accepting foreign tourists,” Saito said at a press conference after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

In the test project, foreign visitors will be required to show proof that they have been vaccinated three times and are covered by private medical insurance. They will travel to destinations that have been approved by prefectural governments.

The tourists will be accompanied by tour conductors and their activities managed by Japanese travel companies.

According to the Japan Tourism Agency, about 10 to 15 group tours from the United States, Australia, Thailand and Singapore are planned under the test project this month. Specific travel schedules and destinations will be decided later.

After the project, the government will compile guidelines for travel agencies and accommodation facilities, including measures to be taken if a person is found to be infected with the coronavirus.