Japan to Open to Some Tourists as Restrictions Ease

TOKYO - After being closed to tourists for two years because of the Covid pandemic, Japan is opening its borders to some visitors from 98 countries and regions.

It marks the most significant moment so far in the country's slow relaxation of its Covid-19 entry restrictions. But some restrictions will remain, including a requirement to visit the country as part of a tour group.

Japan implemented some of the world's toughest virus control regimes during the pandemic, and banned foreign visitors from the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Travel restrictions have already been relaxed for foreign residents and business travellers, and the government recently raised the limit on daily foreign arrivals to 20,000 from 1 June. Since mid-March international students have also been permitted entry.

From 10 June, tour groups will be allowed to enter the country. However the nearly 100 countries and regions, which include the UK, will be divided into three risk categories - red, yellow and blue - which will determine whether visitors can bypass quarantine measures, according to Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A major part of Japan's economy, tourist arrivals fell more than 90% in 2020 - nearly erasing inbound tourism.
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