7 U.S. tourists arrived in Japan this Tuesday to test the small-scale guided tourist plan to begin reopening Japan for tourists in June.
Six hailing from Hawaii and one from Los Angeles — landed at Narita airport in the city of Tokyo and will be participating in tours following the coronavirus anti-measures.
The number of tourists visiting Japan has been at record lows after the government temporarily imposed bans on border crossings for the pandemic in December 2020. The Japan Business Federation, a business lobby also known as Keidanren, recently demanded: “realistic discussions” regarding the possibility of opening.
Seven of them will be divided into two separate itineraries. One of them includes Tochigi Prefecture’s Nikko Toshogu shrine and Zenkoji Temple in Nagano Prefecture. In contrast, the other has Iwate Prefecture’s Hanamakionsen hot springs resort and The Mogami River in Yamagata Prefecture.
Individuals from the United States, Australia, Thailand, and Singapore can participate in the test tours comprising around 50 people, including travel agency representatives divided into 15 groups that visit 12 prefectures.
To prevent infection, groups consist of not more than four persons, and participants must wear masks while visiting tourist sites or taking transport.
A system for correspondence can be established for instances when a person is tested positive during a tour.
The number of foreign tourists to Japan was 31.88 million visitors in 2019, the record-setting highest number. In contrast, border controls for pandemics resulted in 2021 being the lowest level since comparable information was made public in 1964, with only 245,900 foreigners visiting Japan.
Despite plans for certain restrictions to be eased, such as doubling the maximum daily amount of eligible foreign entry to 20,000 beginning in June, no date for lifting the restrictions on access to tourist destinations is set.
Takahide Kiuchi, the executive economist of the Nomura Research Institute, estimates that if the government decides to apply the limit of 20,000 people, the economic benefit from international students, foreigners who stay for long periods, and tourists could contribute 8.13 trillion yen to the nation’s economy every year.
During a global trend to allow tourists who have been vaccinated without any quarantine procedures, Japan takes differing measures concerning where visitors have been born.
Since June, travelers to Japan from regions and countries with a low likelihood of transmission will no longer have to undergo quarantine screenings or self-isolate at home regardless of whether or not they’ve been vaccinated with three COVID-19.
In December of 2020, Japan temporarily stopped the entry of new foreigners to avoid spreading the infection. After a brief relaxation of the rules, and in November 2021, access was again suspended due to the Omicron variant’s sudden appearance.
The border was reopened in March 2022 for tourists on business, technical intern trainees, and other entry points that are not tourist-related.
Relaxations have included increasing the daily cap on arrivals and cutting down or excluding individuals from quarantine requirements based upon certain aspects, including their vaccination status.