Japan reopening to some tourists starting in June: Who can visit


TOKYO — Japan will open its borders to foreign tourists in June for the first time since imposing tight pandemic travel restrictions about two years ago, but only for package tours for now, the prime minister said Thursday.

Beginning June 10, Japan will allow the entry of people on tours with fixed schedules and guides, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.

Tourists from areas with low COVID-19 infection rates who have received three vaccine doses will be exempt from testing and quarantine after entry.

Japan this week is hosting small experimental package tours from four countries, the United States, Australia, Thailand and Singapore. That experiment, which involves only 50 people who received special visas, not tourist visas, is to end May 31.

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“Free and active exchange of people is the foundation of economy and society, as well as that of Asia’s development,” Kishida told his speech at a Tokyo hotel Thursday.

Japan, while watching the infection situation, will gradually accept more tourists in stages to the level of arrivals before the pandemic, he added.

After facing criticism that its strict border controls were xenophobic, Japan began easing its restrictions earlier this year and currently allows entry of up to 10,000 people a day, including Japanese citizens, foreign students and some business travelers.

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