Japan to loosen travel restrictions imposed during pandemic

Sep 22, 2022, 9:18 AM | Updated: 9:23 pm
Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida puts his mask on during a news conference on Thursday, Sept. ...

Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida puts his mask on during a news conference on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022 in New York. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

(AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

NEW YORK (AP) — Japan’s strict border restrictions will be loosened next month, the prime minister announced Thursday, allowing tourists to easily enter for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

In a news conference at the foot of Central Park in New York, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said independent tourists would again be welcomed as of Oct. 11, not just those traveling with authorized groups.

A cap on the number of tourists who are granted entry — which has been gradually increased this year — will be nixed altogether. And visa requirements that were imposed in response to the pandemic will also be rescinded.

Japan’s tough COVID-19 restrictions have sent the number of visitors plummeting and its tourism industry reeling. Though foreign tourists were welcomed back in June after a pause of more than two years, the reopening has been confusing to many seeking to visit.

A previous announcement billed as an easing of the group tour rule turned out, for many tourists, to be anything but — introducing a convoluted process requiring obtaining clearance via a Japanese travel agent, often with hefty fees or commissions attached.

Now, the country appears to be returning to normal, in time for some to book travel for Japan’s fall foliage. Kishida said a campaign aimed at bolstering the tourism industry would be rolled out offering discounts.

“We hope that many citizens will take advantage,” he said as he wrapped up a trip to New York.

Until now, Japan persisted in pandemic travel rules that many other countries have long since dropped. Some tourists have shifted vacations to countries including South Korea and Thailand, which have had looser rules of late.

Kishida spoke on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. In other remarks, he called for reform of the U.N. Security Council and dismissed any skepticism about Japan’s increased military spending, saying it remained a “peace-loving nation.”

He also said Japan would “boldly take necessary steps” to combat excessive fluctuation of the yen, which has dropped to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in more than two decades.

___

AP National Writer Matt Sedensky can be reached at [email protected] and https://twitter.com/sedensky. For more AP coverage of the U.N. General Assembly, visit https://apnews.com/hub/united-nations-general-assembly

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Models wear creations as part of the Benetton women's Spring Summer 2023 collection presented in Mi...
Associated Press

Benetton, Ferrari close Milan Fashion Week with bold moves

MILAN (AP) — Milan Fashion Week closed Sunday after five days of mostly womenswear previews that celebrated diversity and renewal, with more designers of color represented than ever and a host of new talent making their debuts at major fashion houses. The Italian fashion council was also putting the spotlight on sustainability with the return […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

‘Eco-warrior” and Earth First! co-founder Dave Foreman dies

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Dave Foreman, a self-proclaimed eco-warrior who was a prominent member of the radical environmentalism movement and a co-founder of Earth First!, has died. He was 74. The New Mexico-based Rewilding Institute, which Foreman founded as a think tank to develop long-term land conservation plans, said on its website that he died […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Heavy crane topples onto downtown Oklahoma City building

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A 60-ton crane being used to remove a video display board from a downtown Oklahoma City building toppled onto the building that houses several news offices, officials said. The crane’s operator suffered minor injuries in the Saturday afternoon accident. Two other men working in the bucket of a small crane and […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

San Diego County to pay $1.35M over 2018 in-custody death

SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego County and other defendants have agreed to pay $1.35 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the mother of a Mexican citizen who died after sheriff’s deputies arrested him in 2018, officials said. The lawsuit filed by Dolores Rosales, of Tijuana, alleged deputies used excessive force when they took […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Swiss voters OK plan to raise retirement age for women to 65

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss voters on Sunday narrowly backed a proposal to raise the retirement age for women from 64 to 65, public broadcaster SRF reported. A separate proposal to impose stricter animal welfare rules for livestock was heading for a big defeat, SRF also reported. The change means the Swiss pension system would require […]
11 hours ago
FILE - In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by th...
Associated Press

Analysis: Latest Iran protests likely not last for Tehran

Only glimpses of videos that make it online show the protests convulsing Iran over the death of a 22-year-old woman who had been detained by the nation’s morality police. But those flashes show that public anger across the country, once only simmering, is now boiling. The demonstrations surrounding the death of Mahsa Amini — and […]
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Japan to loosen travel restrictions imposed during pandemic