Japan Might Finally Be Allowing Vaccinated Tourists in by This Month Via Package Tours


If you’ve been dreaming of piping hot ramen, kimonos and onsens, here’s some good news.

According to Fuji News Network, Japan is planning to reopen its borders to small groups of vaccinated foreign tourists as soon as this month in an attempt to save its struggling travel industry.

Based on what FNN reported yesterday (6 May), authorities have announced that foreigners who want to visit the country must have had three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and must also be part of a package tour group that has a fixed itinerary.

FNN also noted that the scheme to open up inbound tourism slightly will be used as an experiment, and that it will be scaled up if it does not result in an increased number of COVID-19 cases.

Just a day prior to the announcement on 5 May, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida gave a speech regarding the issue of border restrictions in London.

He had announced that in June, Japan is looking to ease its border restrictions that have been put in place since the pandemic began to be aligned with other wealthy democracies.

However, he also highlighted that the outcome of these plans depends on the infection rate in Japan, which might rise due to multiple public holidays that take place in late April and early May. This period of time is commonly known as “Golden Week” in the country.

And while Kishida did not talk about masks, the Japanese government still strongly encourages their people to wear masks when they go out.

Additionally, a large majority of Japanese people already have mask-wearing habits and continue to wear masks both indoors and outdoors.

How Tourism Will Benefit Japan

Of course, the announcement of relaxing border restrictions will obviously benefit Japan’s tourism industry.

Coupled with the weakening yen, the government has hence been further motivated to allow foreign visitors to visit the country.

Between 2011 and 2019, the number of tourists that Japan welcomed increased by five times.

However, prior to the pandemic, inbound travel was less significant in terms of contributing to the country’s economy.

“As soon as June, based on the opinions of experts, we will review coronavirus regulations, including border policies, in stages,” Mr Kishida said late on Thursday. “We are still in a period of transition back to normal life.”

After the news was announced, multiple tourism-related stocks also saw an increase.

Japan Airlines increased by 4.5%, while Japan Airport Terminal forged ahead with a rise of 6.8%.


Even travel agency HIS, a sector bellwether that was seeing a loss, managed to rise by 2.7% after recuperating its losses.

“Japan was very slow in the economic recovery compared to the US on ‘living with the virus’, so in that sense, the reopening of Japan will help to boost expectations for inbound recovery,” Ayako Sera, a market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, explained.

However, Japan’s reopening of borders might not be as effective as the country thinks it will be.

This is largely due to the fact that China provides the most tourists for Japan, but China’s borders are currently all closed.

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Previously, Kishida decided to completely close off Japan’s borders to non-resident foreigners in November last year, which turned out to be the right move.


During that period of time when the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant was rampant, most members of the public approved and supported Kishida’s decision.

Although Japan now allows foreign students and businesspeople to enter the country, there is a limit of 10,000 arrivals per day. Of course, tourists are not allowed in the country yet.

According to the Nikkei newspaper, Japan might be raising the limit of arrivals to 20,000 per day, and may be allowing tourists to enter the country as well.

As for Kishida, he has been adopting a careful attitude since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which he claims has helped keep the COVID-19 death rate in Japan to a minimum.

Additionally, there is an upcoming key upper house election that will likely take place in July, and there’s no doubt that his method of dealing with the pandemic has earned him a substantial amount of support for the election.

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