Eastern neighbor of Russia decided to open for tourists

Russia's eastern neighbor decided to open up for tourists

Amid a recent drop in new coronavirus infections, Japanese government advisers are urging the country to open up to tourists and loosen the strict border controls put in place in early 2020, the Yomiuri newspaper reported. Recall that since the beginning of the pandemic, the foot of a foreign tourist has not set foot on the territory of the land of the rising sun. An unnamed member of the Economic and Fiscal Policy Council who advises Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to submit a proposal at an upcoming meeting, the publication said.

Before the pandemic, tourism in the country flourished and provided tangible support Japanese economy: the number of foreign tourists increased fivefold between 2011-2019. But due to strict border measures, tourist traffic has dropped from almost 32 million in pre-Covid 2019 to 250,000 in 2021.

In recent months, amid criticism of the country's strict border controls, Japan has increased its daily arrival limit on April 10 from 7,000 to 10,000 people. Visitors are limited to workers, professionals and students. Tourists from abroad were not allowed into Japan until now.

“We are currently seeing the coronavirus settling here and the Japanese have started to travel inland, so my impression is that we are heading towards a gradual easing of border restrictions,” said Tomoaki Kawasaki, equity analyst at Iwaicosmo Securities Co.

“Satisfying strong overseas demand will increase the viability of Japan's economy and strengthen its long-term growth potential,” Kishida said in support of tourism.

Note that Russia's eastern neighbor has been able to avoid the worst effects of the global pandemic: For two years, Japan has recorded a relatively low per capita death rate from the coronavirus. At the moment, there is no air communication between Russia and Japan. In addition, Japan is closed to Russian tourists due to coronavirus restrictions. As for the rest of the world, for example, South Korea and New Zealand have recently reopened to tourists, while China's borders are still closed as the country fights the coronavirus and maintains a “zero tolerance” policy in this regard.

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