Japan removes daily import limit on October 11

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Japan will remove its limit for daily arrivals on Oct. 11 as part of easing COVID-19 border controls, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Thursday.

On the same day as the daily limit expires, which is currently set at 50,000, Japan will also resume visa-free individual travel to the country, Kishida told a news conference in New York.

Japan’s measures against the spread of the novel coronavirus have been criticized by tourism, entertainment and other industries at home and abroad for being too strict.

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Kishida revealed the plans after attending the UN General Assembly’s annual general debate.

Kishida had said the government would further relax its border control measures to make entry procedures as smooth as those of other Group of Seven countries.

By removing the daily import limit, Japan aims to revive its economy, the third largest in the world, which has been hit hard by the absence of tourists from abroad due to the COVID-19 border controls.

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In 2019, prior to the outbreak of the global pandemic, a record 31.9 million tourists visited Japan, with more than 2 million visitors per month. The estimated monthly figure for August this year was 169,800, according to Japan’s National Tourism Organization.

Earlier this month, Japan increased its daily entry limit from 20,000 to 50,000, after raising it from 10,000 earlier in June.

To revive domestic tourism, Kishida said the government will also restart its nationwide subsidy program on Oct. 11.

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The scheme expands the scope of the domestic tourism campaign launched by each Japanese prefecture and provides financial aid up to 11,000 yen ($77) per person for a one-night stay.

“I hope as many people as possible take advantage of[the program]which would support the tourism and entertainment industry,” Kishida said.

People walk in the Asakusa tourist area in Tokyo on May 6, 2022. (TBEN)

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