Japan to lift quarantine restrictions for foreign tourists

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 Japan to lift quarantine restrictions for foreign tourists

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Japan will reopen its doors to foreign tourists after more than two years of closed borders due to the Covid pandemic.

Tourists will be able to visit the country without a visa and will no longer need to contact the travel agency from 11 October.

The restriction on daily arrivals will also be lifted.

Japan's announcement came at about the same time that Taiwan and Hong Kong also eased entry rules for visitors.

Taiwan will lift quarantine requirements for overseas arrivals by mid-October, while Hong Kong on Friday said he would move from hotel quarantine to stay-at-home orders starting September 26.

For Japan, the expected influx of travelers will be a welcome boost for the government and local businesses as the Japanese yen tumbles to its lowest point against the dollar USA in six months.

"Japan will relax border controls to be on par with the US", — said Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The country has been allowing visitors since June, but they had to be part of the tours.

Mr Kishida also announced a domestic travel incentive program that will provide discounts on trips, theme park prices, sporting events and concerts. Residents and citizens of Japan will be eligible for a subsidy of 11,000 yen (£69; $77 United States).

Similar programs have been introduced at reopenings in other countries to encourage locals to spend money and stimulate the economy. However, as elsewhere, the rising cost of living has been a major concern for locals.

The world's third-largest economy was one of the last Asian powers to keep its borders closed due to health problems caused by Covid.

The death rate here is the lowest among the richest countries world, and the level of vaccination in the country — one of the highest.

Japan has also never enforced mandatory lockdowns or mask-wearing, but many locals have readily adopted protective measures.

In 2019, the last year before nearly 32 million foreigners have visited Japan during the pandemic. And travel restrictions in recent months have prevented many foreigners from visiting the country, reports show.

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