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Asia Minute: Japan eases some travel restrictions — but others remain

narita airport tokyo japan coronavirus travel tourism
Shuji Kajiyama/AP
Visitors wearing face masks at Narita International Airport walk under the screen showing a promotional video for tourism in Japan on Friday, June 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

Japan will soon start to ease some of its restrictions on visitors. But there will still be a number of rules to follow.

Starting Wednesday, the daily limit on people arriving in Japan will be raised to 50,000 — up from 20,000. That includes Japanese travelers returning from overseas destinations such as Hawaiʻi.

But that won’t immediately ramp up the number of Japanese arrivals to Hawaiʻi — the focus is on visitors from overseas coming to Japan.

Starting in June, Japan allowed casual travelers to come in tour groups — not a popular option.

The country’s Immigration Services Agency says June and July saw a total of about 8,000 visitors — far from the monthly average of 265,000 in 2019.

All visitors still need to get a visa — usually through a travel agency — in case a visitor comes down with COVID-19 while in Japan.

And if you have not had two vaccine shots plus at least one booster, you will need to take a PCR test within 72 hours of your flight.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, travel rules have been eased in locations from Australia to Vietnam.

On Wednesday, South Korea announced visitors will no longer need a negative COVID test before boarding a flight — although a test on arrival is still required.

In Japan, government officials say more details about the country’s travel rules will be coming soon.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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