Japan Will Reopen To Travelers In June

Just in time for the summer travel season, Japan goals to reopen to international tourists in June. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made the announcement yesterday while visiting London.

“We’ll further calm down controls, in order that in June it can be possible to enter the country as easily as other G7 nations,” said Kishida.

What meaning, exactly, remains to be unclear, since entry rules are usually not uniform across G7 nations. For instance, the United States, Canada and Germany require foreign leisure travelers to be fully vaccinated, while Italy, France and the United Kingdom don’t.

Basically, Asian countries have been much slower to reopen to international tourism than the remaining of world. In recent months, though, vaccinated foreign visitors have been welcomed back to a growing variety of Asian destinations, including India, South Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Now Kishida has apparently decided that the time is true for Japan to follow suit, and is hoping that tourism will help buoy the weakened Japanese yen.

Kishida has credited his country’s strict entry policies with helping Japan weather the pandemic higher than many other nations. Because the starting of the pandemic, Japan has recorded fewer than 30,000 deaths attributable to Covid-19, at a rate of 23.5 deaths per 100,000 residents, in line with Johns Hopkins University data. Comparatively, over a million Americans have died from Covid-19, at a rate of 302.5 deaths per 100,000 residents.

In one other press conference yesterday, Kishida said that changes to Japan’s entry requirements could be implemented in stages. The Japanese government will wait two weeks to see the impact of the Golden Week holidays before making a final decision, reports Nikkei. Japan may reopen first to small tour groups before cranking open the door for general tourism, in line with The Japan Times.

For months now, Japan’s tourism industry has been urging the federal government to permit in additional overseas visitors. In the last decade before the pandemic, tourism was an unlimited success story because the variety of foreign visitors ballooned five fold.

By 2019, tourism contributed $359 billion USD to Japan’s GDP, making it the world’s third-largest tourism market after the USA and China. But, largely attributable to Japan’s strict pandemic border measures, the variety of foreign visitors plummeted from nearly 32 million in 2019 to simply 250,000 last 12 months, in line with the Japan National Tourism Organization.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently has Japan on a Level 3 travel health notice, meaning that the destination has a “high” risk of Covid-19 spread. Notably, the USA and 111 other nations on this planet are also at Level 3.

To go to countries at Level 3, the CDC recommends that travelers be “up thus far” with Covid-19 vaccines – meaning fully vaccinated at boosted – before traveling. About three out of 4 (74.7%) Americans age 12 and over are fully vaccinated, in line with CDC data, but fewer than half of Americans eligible for a booster shot have received one.

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