Japan will reopen to tourists and end its two-year closure. The government decided to allow tourists from 98 countries. However, the opening will be tightly controlled. 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 Covid-19. All visitors have to test negative for Covid. Some may have to have an additional test and quarantine for three days. Japan has among the strictest border controls of any country. Its isolation has played a part in its relatively low number of coronavirus cases.
Japan's tourism industry welcomed this news. It has suffered heavily over the past two years. The number of overseas visitors fell by over 99 per cent since pre-pandemic days. A record 32 million overseas tourists visited in 2019. However, Covid caused this number to drop to just 250,000 in 2021. Japan's airline ANA said it hoped the looser border controls would revitalize the local economy. Japan relaxing its entry restrictions is timely. Last week, the World Economic Forum ranked the country highest on its list of global travel destinations.