China Resumes Visa Issuance to Japanese Travelers

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Passengers of a plane from Nanjing in China, prepare to leave from an arrival hall, upon their arrival at Narita international airport, in Narita, east of Tokyo, January 12, 2023. 

BEIJING (Jiji Press) — The Chinese Embassy in Japan said Sunday that it would resume the issuance of ordinary visas to Japanese people the same day, following a suspension from Jan. 10 that was viewed as retaliation for Japan’s tightening of its COVID-19 border controls on China.

The resumption came as China apparently aims to normalize cross-border traffic of business people as soon as possible to support the Chinese economy, which has been battered by Beijing’s strict zero-COVID policy.

China dropped the policy in December, triggering an explosive spread of the coronavirus that prompted Japan and other countries to strengthen their border controls, which China criticized as discriminatory.

China then halted issuing visas to Japanese travelers, but it continued to issue visas for business and some other purposes, apparently reflecting its hopes for an early recovery of the Chinese economy.

On Jan. 8, meanwhile, China fully lifted its COVID-19 quarantine measures for people entering the country. During the Lunar New Year holiday from Jan. 21 to Friday, a total of some 1.44 million people traveled outside the country, up about twofold from a year earlier.

On Feb, 6, China is also set to lift its pandemic-induced ban on group travel to 20 countries that do not include Japan.