Japan opens to foreign tourists after two years

Japan will reopen to overseas tourists and end its two-year pandemic closure. The government has decided to allow tourists from 98 countries from June the 10th. However, the opening will be tightly controlled. Initially, only package tour groups will be allowed in. A daily cap of 20,000 arrivals has been set. Authorities will monitor their movements to track any spread of Covid-19. All visitors have to test negative for Covid before they travel to Japan. Some may have to undergo an additional test and quarantine for three days. Japan has among the strictest border controls of any country. Its self-imposed isolation has played a part in its relatively low number of coronavirus cases.

Japan's change of stance is welcome news for its tourism industry, which has suffered heavily over the past two years. The number of overseas visitors has fallen by over 99 per cent since pre-pandemic days. Japan saw a record 32 million foreign visitors in 2019. It was on track to achieve its goal of 40 million in 2020. However, Covid caused the number of inbound tourists to plummet to just 250,000 in 2021. The president of the Japanese airline ANA said: "I hope the border controls are loosened at the same pace as in other G7 countries to revitalize the local economy." Japan's loosening of its entry restrictions is timely. Last week, the World Economic Forum ranked Japan highest on its list of global travel destinations.