Daily cap on entry to Japan, ban on individual tourists to be scrapped from Tuesday

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Travelers line up in a departure lobby at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Sept. 7, when the cap for the daily number of entrants was raised to 50,000 people from 20,000.

The government will drastically ease restrictions on entry into Japan on Tueday, including scrapping the entry cap of 50,000 people a day.

It will also eliminate the ban on individual tourists from Tuesday. Currently, tourists can only enter on package tours.

Measures to stimulate domestic tourism demand, such as the national travel assistance program, will also be initiated, to accelerate the “Living with the novel coronavirus” initiative to revive the economy.

Since February 2020, when the government denied entry to non-Japanese who had been in China’s Hubei Province where infections were spreading, the government has imposed various limits on entry. Restrictions will now largely return to pre-COVID levels, except for requiring proof of a third dose of vaccine or a negative test result within 72 hours before leaving the last country travelers were in before coming to Japan.

“We want many people to enjoy events across the nation and hope it will invigorate Japan,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said to reporters Sunday, expressing his expectations for the national travel assistance program and the easing of entry restrictions.

Kishida spoke after attending the Japanese Grand Prix of the Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship at the Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture.

Starting on Tuesday, all entrants, including returning Japanese nationals, will not be tested for the virus upon entry into Japan and will not be required to self-quarantine unless they have symptoms such as fever. Visa exemptions will also resume for short-term visitors to Japan from 68 countries and regions, including the United States and South Korea.

The national travel assistance program subsidizes 40% of travel expenses for public transportation and accommodations, and together with coupons for food and beverages, the maximum subsidy amount is ¥11,000 per person per day. The Tokyo metropolitan government plans to start the program on Oct. 20. The event discount program, which offers a 20% discount (up to ¥2,000) on the price of tickets to movies, sports games and other entertainments will also begin.