Japan plans to scrap cap on international arrivals

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Travelers arrive at Kansai Airport on July 24.

The government plans to scrap the cap on international arrivals and relax other coronavirus pandemic-related border restrictions, according to sources.

The government is expected to make a decision this month while taking into consideration the infection situation in Japan and overseas. Eased visa requirements and the acceptance of solo travelers are among the things being considered.

With the number of coronavirus cases on a downward trend, the government wants to ramp up efforts to normalize economic and social activities, and increasing the number of visitors to Japan is part of such efforts.

On Sept. 7, the cap on international arrivals was raised from 20,000 to 50,000 and foreign visitors were allowed to enter Japan on package tours without guides, under certain circumstances.

However, voices within the government have said the number of international visitors is unlikely to increase drastically unless solo travel is allowed as many foreign visitors do not want to go on package tours.

Japan is currently the only Group of Seven member with a cap on international arrivals.

International arrivals totaled 140,000 in January 2020, before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.