Will Japan Ever Reopen Its Borders To Tourists?!?

Will Japan Ever Reopen Its Borders To Tourists?!?

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Update: As of October 11, 2022, Japan will reopen to individual visitors on a visa-free basis.

It has been well over two years since coronavirus initially shut down global travel. While the pandemic is still very much a thing, we’ve largely seen countries start to take the approach of trying to resume “normal” life while living with the virus. Even the countries that were initially the most conservative with pandemic restrictions, including Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore, are now open to tourists with few restrictions.

Japan is an incredibly popular destination with travelers — it’s one of my favorite countries in the world, and it’s a place I’m dying to return to. Nonetheless, the country continues to remain closed to most tourists. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how there was no sign of Japan reopening its borders on a widespread basis, though perhaps there’s now a glimmer of hope?

Japan’s bizarre border policies

Japan’s borders continue to remain closed to independent tourists from a vast majority of countries. What’s interesting is that it’s not that Japan’s borders are actually closed, but rather they’re just closed to most visitors.

Residents of Japan can travel freely to other countries with no quarantine on the return. Furthermore, as of September 7, 2022, Japan no longer requires a coronavirus test prior to travel to the country. In other words, for Japanese travelers it’s more or less the same was it was pre-pandemic when it comes to traveling abroad.

Furthermore, it’s not like Japan is pursuing a zero coronavirus strategy. The country is just at the tail end of the worst coronavirus outbreak it has seen since the start of the pandemic, and Japan also doesn’t quite have the same vaccination rate as some other countries in Asia (like Singapore).

Current coronavirus cases in Japan

Until now, we haven’t really seen the Japanese government propose a concept for a widespread tourism reopening, but rather we’ve seen all kinds of small measures taken, from allowing tour groups, to allowing business travelers.

Back in May 2022, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida suggested that Japan would further ease border controls as of June 2022, intended to put the country more in line with other G7 countries. That didn’t happen, at least as it impacted tourists.

Japan’s borders continue to remain closed to most visitors

Japan doesn’t want tourists

We’re now well over two years into the pandemic, and with the exception of China, most destinations have once again reopened to tourists in some sort of reasonable capacity… except Japan.

It’s odd, because pre-pandemic Japan had a booming tourism industry. In 2019, the country had 32 million foreign visitors, and they directly spent roughly $43 billion in the country. So why has the country been so hesitant to restart the tourism industry?

This is probably a hard pill for many of us to swallow, especially since Japan is known for being so hospitable, but the only reasonable conclusion is that the Japanese public simply doesn’t want foreign tourists. I’m not making this up — unfortunately surveys among the Japanese public have consistently shown that there’s support for keeping border measures in place against foreigners.

Of course this has a horrible impact for those who work in the tourism sector, but ultimately that constitutes a minority of the Japanese public. It seems that others are happy to have their country to themselves.

In a weird way, I guess I can’t fault them? Those living in Japan can enjoy their country in a way that hasn’t been possible in years, and they can also freely leave the country and go elsewhere.

From a risk mitigation standpoint, there’s simply no logic to Japan’s current policy, so one has to wonder what the country has been waiting for otherwise.

The Japanese public largely supports border measures

Japan may finally reopen borders

Japan’s Fuji News Network has today reported that Japan’s government is planning to ease visitor requirements soon. According to sources, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida may decide as early as this week to further waive visa requirements for tourists, including allowing more visitors without travel agency bookings.

Before the pandemic, Japan didn’t require tourist visas for visitors from 68 countries (including the United States), so if visa restrictions were to be eased, presumably restrictions would be eased for similar countries.

This is an encouraging development, though I wouldn’t bank on Japan reopening just yet. After all, back in May the Prime Minister said he wanted to ease restrictions in line with G7 countries, but nothing major came of that. Maybe this time will be different? Who knows…

Japan may finally reopen… maybe?!

Bottom line

Japan’s borders continue to remain closed to most foreign tourists. What’s interesting here is that Japanese travelers can leave the country freely and return without quarantine, and Japan also has a lot of coronavirus cases.

Despite that, the government has made the decision to keep borders closed to self-guided tourists, and that’s a policy that’s supported by the Japanese public. Japan is in a league of its own when it comes to the extent to which its explicitly banning tourists (rather than having strict border measures in order to pursue a zero tolerance approach toward coronavirus).

The good news is that it’s possible we’ll see a change to this policy soon. Reports suggest that Japan’s Prime Minister may ease entry restrictions for self-guided tourists in the near future, possibly even in the coming days. It’s anyone’s guess if that comes to fruition.

When do you think Japan will finally open its borders to visitors on a large scale?

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  1. AndrewChen Guest

    Ben, I went to Tokyo in the last June- July, on a temporary single entry visa to visit my aging mother. Will do it again in this November.

    A couple of factors are the building blocks to consider:

    1. Japan is extremely congested place with little spare space. Although wealthy and advanced, its healthcare system is completely different. Hospitals are available, but generally the cares are practiced at personal level. There are really not...

    Ben, I went to Tokyo in the last June- July, on a temporary single entry visa to visit my aging mother. Will do it again in this November.

    A couple of factors are the building blocks to consider:

    1. Japan is extremely congested place with little spare space. Although wealthy and advanced, its healthcare system is completely different. Hospitals are available, but generally the cares are practiced at personal level. There are really not a lot emergency hospital beds available for pandemic patients, on top of the current aging population. They were horrified to observe what happened in Europe and US in the last two years, with so much death, so they are extremely cautious in not letting it happen.

    Philosophically in the US or Europe, the old concept “herd immunity” might have been boosted, if not achieved, by massive vaccination campaign while partially allowing the society to open. Japan has been doing the same, but primarily within the country. People inside the country have been able to move and maintain normal activities. It is the high population density and aging population that made they very very cautious (not to do a big world experiment to let people exposed to the viruses and likely a higher percentage of people could die).

    2. The tourism industry has been lobbying the government for over a year to open up. It is not they did not want tourists. But culturally and socially, the Japanese public does have a “biased” perception that most foreigners, particularly the Americans, are reckless. The July Covid case surge in Japan was the worst in the entire world, and Japanese public still blame the US service men in the Japan for the virus import, fair or not.

    Japanese government is aware that omicron variants may not be as fatal as others, and the public may still need to get used to “grow immunity “. Yet, they could not afford any unexpected. So caution is the word their cultural gene has been constructed with.

    In Tokyo, where I was there in June and July, there was a period of 148 years old temperature record broken with 90% humidity index, yet the overwhelming majority of the people wear facial masks, regardless. No much how much I did not like it, it is their land and rules. Tokyo has the same population as Canada in such a small land area, so you see their fear logic.

  2. Bill Guest

    Umm individuals can already visit Japan. It’s been that way since early September they just needed to go through a travel agency. Things are set to loosen up more in the next couple of days it is just a matter of an official announcement but don’t be surprised if they limit it to select countries at first.

  3. Tom Whom Guest

    Sounds not right only $4B for 32 million visitors, $125 per visitor, way too low even can't cover one night hotel stay?

  4. Daniel Guest

    I think this is a good illustration that Japan, despite its famous hospitality, is fundamentally very insular in nature. Some Japanese renters won't even rent their units to naturalized expats!

  5. iamhere Guest

    Your information is out of date and incorrect. You need better sources. The truth of the matter is Japan currently allows tourists in groups. Japan has plans to scrap that and allow individual tourism again and has set a quota on the number of tourists allowed.

  6. SMR Guest

    Japan is a homogenous society. You have been …Lucky ? You don’t see signs everywhere that say members (Japanese speakers ) only ? Why are you at all surprised. Hospitable only by rule … Japanese follow the rules they are not hospitable because they want to see foreigners come spend money. They are ethical to the companies they work for and that’s their culture.

    Yes I do love Japan and the Japanese culture/people but...

    Japan is a homogenous society. You have been …Lucky ? You don’t see signs everywhere that say members (Japanese speakers ) only ? Why are you at all surprised. Hospitable only by rule … Japanese follow the rules they are not hospitable because they want to see foreigners come spend money. They are ethical to the companies they work for and that’s their culture.

    Yes I do love Japan and the Japanese culture/people but it has never been a truly welcoming place for foreigners if you pay attention closely. That survey comes to 0 surprise.

  7. Jay Guest

    They will reopen soon to independent travelers. Expo 2025 in Osaka is under construction right now and will attract millions. It is not being built for a pure Japanese audience.

  8. stlsch02 Member

    Why should they?

    1. Jeffrey Guest

      They are zenophobic racists. That is why.

    2. Rob Guest

      agree, not as friendly and open as people used to think

  9. bck Guest

    Why not consider visiting Korea instead of Japan? Korean border is open to foreign tourists, and is worth of visiting again. Is it simply because KE and OZ do not have superior business class or first class product??

    Actually you can visit Japan now with a local travel agency's "endorsement" and you need to apply for a visa.

    Japan was overwhelmed by tourists before the pandemic. Many locals do not like that way though and...

    Why not consider visiting Korea instead of Japan? Korean border is open to foreign tourists, and is worth of visiting again. Is it simply because KE and OZ do not have superior business class or first class product??

    Actually you can visit Japan now with a local travel agency's "endorsement" and you need to apply for a visa.

    Japan was overwhelmed by tourists before the pandemic. Many locals do not like that way though and that's why they are not in a hurry to reopen.

  10. John Guest

    Japan doesn't want the gaijins back. They have been pretty isolated throughout history, so they'll drag reopening as long as they can.

  11. Ron Mexico Guest

    They are out and out racists dude. You haven’t figured that out yet. They “kind of” hide it. Heh. I love Japan. But they are racists. Now, this is a problem everywhere in the world. But, culturally it’s a different thing there.

  12. JD Guest

    Actually, it is a great transfer point for other Asia destinations. Transferred through Haneda 2 weeks ago. No tests or even proof of vaccination required (even though we had them). All lounges open. No crowds, and extremely quick security. Just now at the Bangkok airport, headed for a transfer through NRT to LAX. You just have to be certain your connection is the same day and same airport.

  13. Taisei Guest

    I’m a Japanese national that lives in the US and have been to Japan twice in the past year. I also grew up in Japan.
    Over the past 10 years, our favorite sites have gotten overcrowded with foreign tourists, making it difficult for us locals to enjoy. This is throughout the entire country. Now that the tourists are gone, it feels like we are able to enjoy our own country again in a peaceful...

    I’m a Japanese national that lives in the US and have been to Japan twice in the past year. I also grew up in Japan.
    Over the past 10 years, our favorite sites have gotten overcrowded with foreign tourists, making it difficult for us locals to enjoy. This is throughout the entire country. Now that the tourists are gone, it feels like we are able to enjoy our own country again in a peaceful manner. Yes, many foreign tourists are respectful of our culture, but there are also many blatantly rude ones. When I say rude, I mean rude even by American standards.
    I think we do need to eventually open up, but this is why we are so reluctant

    1. Peter Guest

      “…overcrowded with foreign tourists, making it difficult for us locals to enjoy”

      Is this unique to Japan?

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Yeah... that is exactly how we Americans feel about Pearl Harbor.
      I cringe to think of Americans acting in Hiroshima the way I have seen Japanese act at Pearl Harbor.

    3. Torode Guest

      Your "favorite sites" are overcrowded full-stop. In fact, before the pandemic, Japanese tourists accounted for more than 80% of tourists in Kyoto. A big part of the issue is the lack of infrastructure development commensurate with the increase in tourist numbers to big name tourist spots such as Kyoto.

    4. john cocktosin Guest

      I think the dramatic increase in numbers of poorly behaved Chinese tourists is the key point here.

    5. Watson Gold

      @Taisei: Why are you special? Every other country deals with this just fine. Sharing your culture is part of being a member of the international community. It's fairly hypocritical of you to enjoy the hospitality of the US and yet support the continued closure of Japan's borders.

  14. Todd Guest

    With the revised guidelines, I got my e-Visa without issue and am heading there in November. I have to transit between NRT and HND for my ANA flight.

  15. Jeffrey Chang Guest

    Time for another Commodore Perry.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      I do appreciate the history literate.

    2. AC Guest

      Um- your high school senior googled it for you?

  16. Going to Japan Guest

    Literally just booked a "package tour" that consists only of (very affordable thanks to the yen and the general state of tourism in Japan) hotel bookings. We used our existing plane tickets that we booked with miles, originally in 2019 for 2020 travel. We're going in October. No restrictions, no guide, no nothing. You just have to jump through the small visa hoop which is easy for Americans. I know it's not easy breezy visa-free...

    Literally just booked a "package tour" that consists only of (very affordable thanks to the yen and the general state of tourism in Japan) hotel bookings. We used our existing plane tickets that we booked with miles, originally in 2019 for 2020 travel. We're going in October. No restrictions, no guide, no nothing. You just have to jump through the small visa hoop which is easy for Americans. I know it's not easy breezy visa-free travel but it is simply not factual to say that Japan remains closed to individual tourists.

  17. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    So why are other countries not retaliating in kind?

    One would think that if the hurdles to visit HNL, LAX, SFO, NYC, YVR, LHR, CDG, SIN, SYD, etc were similarly placed, Japan would back down.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Because this doesn’t rise to the level of a foreign policy effort.

      Adjudicating short term travel options isn’t something the government needs to worry about.

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      ...and yet, that's happened several times in even recent history, see Brazil.

      So not sure if answer is the of the factual nature that at least you seem to believe it to be.

    3. Never In Doubt Guest

      I just went with the obvious Occam's Razor explanation. It just doesn't matter enough for them to bother.

      What's your theory as to why the nations of the world don't rise up and crush reciprocal Japanese travel in retaliation?

      Or were you just rambling aimlessly?

    4. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      "I just went with the obvious Occam's Razor explanation."

      You give yourself too much credit.

      What makes it so "obviously" the simplest explanation, in the face of recent history, where (as already explained to you) it wasn't?

  18. Tim Dunn Diamond

    I'm not sure what reactivated this article but it is almost certain that Japan will be closed for most independent tourism until the spring of 2023. Airlines are restarting Japan to Hawaii flights so there will be Japanese leaving the country but there will be a dearth of flights from the mainland to Japan.

    The real winner in all of this is S. Korea, Korean Airlines, and Delta. S. Korea is reopening, demand is strong,...

    I'm not sure what reactivated this article but it is almost certain that Japan will be closed for most independent tourism until the spring of 2023. Airlines are restarting Japan to Hawaii flights so there will be Japanese leaving the country but there will be a dearth of flights from the mainland to Japan.

    The real winner in all of this is S. Korea, Korean Airlines, and Delta. S. Korea is reopening, demand is strong, and airlines need local traffic in order to make hubs work. Transpacific airfares beyond NE Asia are very high. At some point, JAL and ANA will realize they are further giving up market share and the ability to compete which was already damaged by the latest round of new flights to Haneda, leaving Tokyo with a dual hub operation that was economically challenging even before covid.
    Given that the dollar is strong and American tourists can go anywhere cheaper than has been the case for years, many countries are going to realize that they have not shoot themselves in the foot.
    Whether Japan comes to that conclusion by next spring remains to be seen but the future of JAL and ANA depends on Japan opening back up

    1. Dusty Guest

      Why would you think they won't be open for independent tourism until next year? Have you been following the news at all? They began allowing "unguided tours", in practice a euphemism for independent tourism, last week. The only hoop you have to jump through is getting a Japanese travel agency to sponsor your visa, and a quick perusal of r/japantravel or FlyerTalk reveals plenty of agencies that will do exactly that. Yeah you have to...

      Why would you think they won't be open for independent tourism until next year? Have you been following the news at all? They began allowing "unguided tours", in practice a euphemism for independent tourism, last week. The only hoop you have to jump through is getting a Japanese travel agency to sponsor your visa, and a quick perusal of r/japantravel or FlyerTalk reveals plenty of agencies that will do exactly that. Yeah you have to pay a bit extra, but if you can afford the plane ticket you can afford the visa. And now it's possible Kishida may be lifting even that restriction within the month.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      because it is not independent tourism and not required in other countries.
      If they remove that restriction within a month, then this discussion is a moot point.

    3. Dusty Guest

      It literally is independent tourism. The travel agency sponsors your visa, but that's the end of it. They aren't holding your hand on the day to day or making you follow the itinerary you give them. There are other countries that require foreign travelers to obtain tourist visas, and in some cases pay for them. The only difference here is who you have to pay.

    4. Torode Guest

      "I'm not sure what reactivated this article but it is almost certain that Japan will be closed for most independent tourism until the spring of 2023."

      This is really not going to age well

  19. derek Guest

    Japan appears to be opening up as a countermeasure for the weak Japanese yen, now at about 145 per US$1. It was almost 100 per US$1 at one time.

    Japan may have partially the correct attitude. I would favor self administered rapid antigen tests 24-48 hours before flight with either a report or self-declaration with the test wrapper and 24 hour quarantine with rapid antigen testing on arrival.

    For domestic flights, 24-48 hours before flight with testing, too.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      I doubt it. A little winter tourism isn’t going to move the Yen. Much bigger FX forces are at work.

      Best of luck with that testing nonsense.

  20. Jim Baround Guest

    If you repost something, can you add a header of what changed, or if nothing, that it is a repost from XX date?

    1. Alec New Member

      Yeah I always get confused when there's a repost but no call out on what's been updated

    2. Hodor Guest

      This has been a recurring request on this blog for several years, so just like the analysis of Japan's border policy, the only reasonable conclusion is that it's done this way on purpose.

  21. Marcus Guest

    In Japan right now on en emergency visa. The sakoku policy (keep foreigners out) has an 89% favorability rating per one poll. No politician would want to cross that many voters. Also the current PM does not have the best favorability rating. If it were upto the public they would be permanently closed.

    Historically the Japanese like the Chinese preferred to remain mostly closed. But upon seeing what happened to China when they tried to...

    In Japan right now on en emergency visa. The sakoku policy (keep foreigners out) has an 89% favorability rating per one poll. No politician would want to cross that many voters. Also the current PM does not have the best favorability rating. If it were upto the public they would be permanently closed.

    Historically the Japanese like the Chinese preferred to remain mostly closed. But upon seeing what happened to China when they tried to remain closed they decided to engage with foreigners.

    Post war needing to learn from the foreign devil they were open. But the recent influx of visitors particularly in major tourist sights such as Kyoto disrupting what is a highly formal and protocol oriented society has brought back the yearning to be left alone.

    I have no idea when and how this gets resolved. The current controversy over the Abe state funeral and the Unification Church relationship with LDP (the current ruling party) is not helping.

    Getting the emergency visa itself was not easy. But I hear they are making it simpler

  22. Jared Guest

    @Ben - interesting article but probably could benefit a little from perspectives from those who have lived there? The cultural nuances of Asia make it very difficult to describe in a short article. Many people in Asia prefer to maintain their strong cultural identify. Dilution with Western cultures and traditions is frowned upon. While foreigners will receive hospitality and care, acceptance is a different ask. Ultimately, I cannot blame for Japan and other countries in...

    @Ben - interesting article but probably could benefit a little from perspectives from those who have lived there? The cultural nuances of Asia make it very difficult to describe in a short article. Many people in Asia prefer to maintain their strong cultural identify. Dilution with Western cultures and traditions is frowned upon. While foreigners will receive hospitality and care, acceptance is a different ask. Ultimately, I cannot blame for Japan and other countries in the region which would prefer to close their borders. It is their right and in their interest to protect themselves from whatever they view as a threat. This also is a sentiment reflected across much of Midwestern American (bar the major cities). Didn't Trump run an entire campaign on the basis of purity of the American identity? If it weren't for tourism dollars, many countries in Europe would also keep tighter borders. The fact is that self preservation is a powerful idea. Ultimately, a foreigner/tourist will remain that in any country so tread with respect.

    1. Jerry Guest

      Yea, weird how trying to preserve Asian culture or Black Culture or hispanic culture is good and even encouraged, but preserving any type of american culture or values or traditional christian religious culture makes you an evil person.
      I would think people on a travel blog would know this but even most republicans in America would be considered liberal in most of the world save for but a few western european countries.

  23. Viking Guest

    Lucky doesn’t seem to understand that individual tourists from ALL countries are banned. Why can he never get his facts straight?

    1. Petri Diamond

      Well. Banned and banned. You can travel invidually as long as you are willing to get a Japanese travel agent to arrange an "unguided tour" for you. That is an extra cost, but there is no requirement to participate on anything. Wife and two children are visiting next month.

  24. Jason Guest

    Fun fact: Japan is basically developed and democratic China installed with American Constitution. As Chinese myself, this COVID craziness is just Japan being Japan, and China being China. For Taiwan's travel policy? It demonstrates that they are an inseparable part of us
    Madness? THIS IS SINOSPHERE!

  25. The Joe Guest

    I'll attribute my recent purchase of a Hyundai and getting rid of my Toyota to this. It wasn't coincidence, I swear!

    We can cancel Nintendo AFTER BOTW2 comes out.

    ;-)

  26. Bill Guest

    If Japan continues this visa crap, the US will require Japanese citizens to also pay for a visa.

    The tour group BS thing just looks like a way for connected politicians to make money on tour company permits.

    True that the majority of a Japanese don’t want tourists - especially the uncultured Chinese peasants.

  27. Dan Guest

    Recently went to japan for work. Americans will need a short visa to enter now, just like other none visa waiver nationals have to do as usual. You will need an invitation from a company based in Japan and a letter from your company. My purpose of visiting japan was attending design reviews, supplier visits and conducting on-site testing of a version of the electromechanical equipment built by a company based in Japan. I saw...

    Recently went to japan for work. Americans will need a short visa to enter now, just like other none visa waiver nationals have to do as usual. You will need an invitation from a company based in Japan and a letter from your company. My purpose of visiting japan was attending design reviews, supplier visits and conducting on-site testing of a version of the electromechanical equipment built by a company based in Japan. I saw many foreigners in Nagoya and Tokyo but I assume they all live there or came for work or study. Everything was cheaper (like 20%) than before due to the value of yen fell so much. Most people wore masks indoor and outdoor despite of the hot July weather. Towards the last day of the trip, I splurged and stayed at Mesm Tokyo (autograph collection). It was a really good hotel. I hope when Ben goes back to Japan, he can review the hotel. I didn’t get to stay but I heard that the tower hotel Nagoya is an excellent hotel in Nagoya. May be one day Ben can review the hotel since it belongs to Hyatt small luxury hotel. Overall it was nice to visit Japan and I wish Japan will open up soon.

  28. Alyssa Guest

    They never will, because as long as racism is being applied to white people and not coming from them, it's fine.

  29. Mike Guest

    This is de facto violation of mutual visa free policies, and would love to see other countries eliminating visa free travel for Japanese passports until this nonsense is ended. "I can enter your house whenever you want, but don't you dare to step foot in my house" is ridiculous.

    1. Alyssa Guest

      The only previously visa-waiver country that currently makes Japanese apply for visas is Korea, and it looks like they may relent before long—Seoul needs the tourists.

      It's a shame that every single one of the mechanisms that should've protected against a situation like this has failed. We don't have leaders who will enforce laws/agreements. Our media no longer speaks to governments on behalf of citizens—it works the other way. International organizations like IATA and...

      The only previously visa-waiver country that currently makes Japanese apply for visas is Korea, and it looks like they may relent before long—Seoul needs the tourists.

      It's a shame that every single one of the mechanisms that should've protected against a situation like this has failed. We don't have leaders who will enforce laws/agreements. Our media no longer speaks to governments on behalf of citizens—it works the other way. International organizations like IATA and the WHO were happy to speak out against travel restrictions in the US and Europe, but have been silent about Japan's.

  30. Florian Guest

    Whatever. Scratched all plans for 2023. And beyond.

    1. Jeffrey Guest

      Exactly. These morons are xenophobic thugs as opposed to Dubai to begin with. Do they even know what would happen if Dubai had the same mentality as Japan???? Their city would sink into the sands of time.

  31. Andy 11235 Guest

    Ben, you understand how fantastically xenophobic the Japanese public are, right? It isn't that they don't allow tourists, they just want to make sure that a tour group leader babysits them. If you miss northeast Asia, go to Korea.

  32. DoDo Guest

    (((it's just not very important to global society,)))

    Japan's GDP is the third biggest in the world, do you know anything about economy? Japan's economy is bigger than any European countries or Canada or UK that you stated above.
    I dunno where you are coming from but Canada or UK's economy news don't make a top news or anyone cares.
    Also, Japan's tourism from foreign tourists before covid only contributed less than 1%...

    (((it's just not very important to global society,)))

    Japan's GDP is the third biggest in the world, do you know anything about economy? Japan's economy is bigger than any European countries or Canada or UK that you stated above.
    I dunno where you are coming from but Canada or UK's economy news don't make a top news or anyone cares.
    Also, Japan's tourism from foreign tourists before covid only contributed less than 1% to the Japanese economy. So they don't really give a damn about tiny amount of money that tourists could bring in to their country.
    But I do agree that they should follow visa waiver agreements with those agreed with between other countries.

    If you happen to know the fact or happened to know a little bit of the world economy, Japanese government is the richest government in the world.
    Just google it.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      "Japan's GDP is the third biggest in the world, do you know anything about economy? "

      Won't stay that way for long, especially if they keep this nonsense up.

      Germany's GDP was already set to overtake it in relative short order. And India's GDP is going to steamroll past it in only a few years, with nearly 3x the growth rate.

  33. Emily Guest

    Japan is not closed to "foreigners." They are closed to self-travel tourists only. I just returned from Japan after a ten day visit, but on a business visa. I didn't experience any negative or aversive treatment. I had a pre-travel checklist to submit, which included vaccination certificates. Once those were cleared, I was issued my e-visa. In general, the trip was uneventful as always, with the exception of much lower number of tourists and foreigners...

    Japan is not closed to "foreigners." They are closed to self-travel tourists only. I just returned from Japan after a ten day visit, but on a business visa. I didn't experience any negative or aversive treatment. I had a pre-travel checklist to submit, which included vaccination certificates. Once those were cleared, I was issued my e-visa. In general, the trip was uneventful as always, with the exception of much lower number of tourists and foreigners aside from business travelers. For reference, I am a US expat residing and vaccinated in India.

    1. Emily Guest

      *correction: not an e-visa but a e-travel authorization (ensuring that my vaccination certificates are valid).

    2. Alyssa Guest

      Guys, Emily doesn’t mind having to jump through hoops to visit Japan on business. Stop your complaining!

    3. Andrew Diamond

      Hahaha thanks Alyssa. I work at a hospital, ain't no way I'm going to get a visa to go into that country. But it works for Emily, so everything's cool now.

    4. Emily Guest

      Drum roll please! …and the award for the most moronic comment of the day is shared better An and Al (AnAl?)!

      Yes, I had to go through a lot of hoops, which consumed a total of 15 minutes of my life on the computer, to complete the form to enter Japan. Good luck figuring out a witty comeback since it might be much too complex for you lot!

    5. Andrew Diamond

      The vast majority of foreigners don't have a valid business reason or enjoy minders and supervision as though they are toddlers, Emily.

      I'm pretty sure Ben didn't write this article because he found a 15 minute form too burdensome. The fact is, it's not available to the vast majority of people.

      Thanks for all your snark, though. It was almost entertaining.

    6. Jared Guest

      Not interested in the preceding comments except one point by @Andrew.

      If people don't like being told what they do, perhaps they should just not travel? As soon as one enters a country as a foreign alien, they are literally expected to follow dos and don'ts. This is either dictated by the laws, which give non-citizens varying levels of protection, or the culture.

      At least in the US and the UK, I see that...

      Not interested in the preceding comments except one point by @Andrew.

      If people don't like being told what they do, perhaps they should just not travel? As soon as one enters a country as a foreign alien, they are literally expected to follow dos and don'ts. This is either dictated by the laws, which give non-citizens varying levels of protection, or the culture.

      At least in the US and the UK, I see that we have mastered the art of treating the population as toddlers. Ever notice the amount of health and safety stickers around?

      Ben's posts on airlines are entertaining, but his posts on travel and policies miss the mark on depth and rarely articulate a universal truth. Not a criticism, but just keeping things in perspective for a blog.

    7. Kent Guest

      Please don't insult toddlers. They are wiser and more mature than the majority of the tourists I cater to.

    8. Petri Diamond

      Just want to clarify the meaning of an "unguided tour". If a Japanese travel agent designs such a program for you, you can go. No one is requiring you to being under supervision, or controlling if you follow the designed plan. It is only an inconvenient extra cost. My wife and two children are going next month.

  34. PolariS Guest

    My fiancé and I were planning for our elopement wedding and honeymoon to take place in Japan in April 2019… Since then, we have been postponing it… like, many times. With the flights being cancelled, we have had to spend more to change the dates (at least £600 extra). Whilst we could have picked another country, we had already paid two deposits for the elopement wedding and an elopement wedding in Japan was always a...

    My fiancé and I were planning for our elopement wedding and honeymoon to take place in Japan in April 2019… Since then, we have been postponing it… like, many times. With the flights being cancelled, we have had to spend more to change the dates (at least £600 extra). Whilst we could have picked another country, we had already paid two deposits for the elopement wedding and an elopement wedding in Japan was always a dream of ours. :( We are more than happy to follow all regulations (quoting my fiancé: “staple a mask to my face, if needed”), but not being able to book our own accommodation is really inconvenient. Our next attempt is mid-October. Fingers crossed. Unfortunately, I don’t think that unguided tour would suit our situation…

  35. Lieflat19 Member

    too bad the US doesn't pursue a similar policy...

    1. MS Guest

      It’s alright, ain’t nobody dyin’ to visit your backward third-world country.

    2. Alyssa Guest

      Tell that to the planefulls of Japanese tourists who land in Honolulu every day.

    3. Matake Guest

      Ironically, people do literally die trying to get to this country all the time, but hey

  36. E. Guest

    I doubt it will ever go back to any kind of normal. It is xenophobia. It was never about a virus.

  37. OT Guest

    The elephant in the room is mainland China, which had by far the biggest share of these pre-COVID visitors and is the single biggest reason for the rapid growth in visitors, and now the backlash. I think if they could open the borders to everyone except China it might be easier, as the impact would be much smaller. But that's probably politically impossible, for obvious reasons.

    A serious conundrum. Sad for those of us...

    The elephant in the room is mainland China, which had by far the biggest share of these pre-COVID visitors and is the single biggest reason for the rapid growth in visitors, and now the backlash. I think if they could open the borders to everyone except China it might be easier, as the impact would be much smaller. But that's probably politically impossible, for obvious reasons.

    A serious conundrum. Sad for those of us who have been visiting Japan since before the deluge and miss it terribly.

    1. tuotuo Guest

      Quite opposite.Politically it will be very easy Japan just open the border there will be no Chinese tourist for a very long time .Because China will not allow citizen go to foreign countries.The pandemic is just an excuse.

  38. Antonio Guest

    I recently transferred in Japan twice in 3 days, it was weird that they required transfer security from the Philippines but passengers went directly to the terminal from the USA. I had a much harder time getting through security in the Philippines than in the USA on the same trip, so I wonder how they decided upon their criteria.

  39. Guri S Guest

    I have travelled to Japan at least 30 times in the last 20 years, 15 being just short transit stops.

    Japan has been and always will be one of the most racist country in the world. As another reader wrote, one can never truly be Japanese.

    As an immigrant in USA, I feel like I belong here and am accepted as a local. This would not happen in Japan.

    Japanese folks in general...

    I have travelled to Japan at least 30 times in the last 20 years, 15 being just short transit stops.

    Japan has been and always will be one of the most racist country in the world. As another reader wrote, one can never truly be Japanese.

    As an immigrant in USA, I feel like I belong here and am accepted as a local. This would not happen in Japan.

    Japanese folks in general love people who come visit but as long as they leave.

    The entire system is run by old men in suits and the country has not made progress in anything. The whole system is scared and lives in fear.

    Japan will stay closed until they make one step and then study it for 3-6 months and then followed by another step in opening up and then again it will be studied.

    I think Sakura or Summer of 2023 we might see some normalcy in tourism but between now and then it will be a lab experiment.

    1. Evidently Guest

      I think you make a confusion between the words racist and xenophobic.

  40. iamhere Guest

    Your information is not accurate. Japan is open for tourists if you plan to go in a tour group. It is not open for tourists to go around by themselves. Also consider how much of Japan's tourism revenue comes from China, this may be also a factor. I would think one reason many Japanese may not want tourists is because of a lack of respect for the local culture.

    1. Torode Guest

      Around 80% of tourism in Japan is domestic, which goes some way to explaining why there is not a huge appetite to urgently reopen. Another reason is that at the height of the Japanese tourism boom, in late 2019/early 2020, so-called "over-tourism" was becoming a huge problem in places like Kyoto that don't have the capacity to deal with that many people.

  41. glenn t Diamond

    I can't really believe most Japanese really want the country closed to tourism indefinately. This may be just the take of the very conservative new government.
    As normal, polls can be done to determine whatever result you want to have.
    Sure, some tourists can be insufferable oafs, but the majority are interested and respectful of the Japanese and their wonderful culture.

    1. Torode Guest

      Most of the polls cited were from early December when little was known about Omicron and Japan reflexively shut its borders. At that time it was upwards of 90% of Japanese people agreeing with the border measures. Even then people loudly declared that it was because all Japanese are xenophobic, but recent polls have shown that the majority of Japanese support gradually reopening. A prominent Japanese minister also suggested yesterday that the next step would...

      Most of the polls cited were from early December when little was known about Omicron and Japan reflexively shut its borders. At that time it was upwards of 90% of Japanese people agreeing with the border measures. Even then people loudly declared that it was because all Japanese are xenophobic, but recent polls have shown that the majority of Japanese support gradually reopening. A prominent Japanese minister also suggested yesterday that the next step would be to reinstate visa-free travel.

      And you're right, the vast majority of tourists are respectful. I think some of the animosity simply comes from overcrowding of the big tourist spots.

  42. Eric Guest

    The sad thing about it all is my family and I are desperately waiting to go this December (fingers crossed). My spouse is Japanese and thru her I can apply for a Non-Tourist Visa. Hopefully it gets approved because my in-laws haven’t seen the kids in 3 years. Too much time has passed and memories lost.

  43. Fed UP Guest

    Just like Australia and New Zealand, Japan was hysterical and blamed all foreigners for COVID. (Australia of course, takes top prize - they denied their own citizens return - standing 1000s overseas for months on end).
    The 2 plus year long indoctrination campaign has succeeded, and Japanese don't want the borders reopened to outsiders...because they were to "blame" for COVID. Some of the other hysterical countries, like Singapore and Canada finally relented, and have...

    Just like Australia and New Zealand, Japan was hysterical and blamed all foreigners for COVID. (Australia of course, takes top prize - they denied their own citizens return - standing 1000s overseas for months on end).
    The 2 plus year long indoctrination campaign has succeeded, and Japanese don't want the borders reopened to outsiders...because they were to "blame" for COVID. Some of the other hysterical countries, like Singapore and Canada finally relented, and have a more balanced approach.
    To close off the country completely merely delayed COVID spread, which is what Japan is now experiencing, still with minimal consequences for the vaccinated.

    1. Sam A Guest

      And the Australian government is now seriously confused why inbound international tourism is decimated. Tell people they are infectious & unwanted for 2 years and then wonder why they aren’t banging down the door to return.

    2. Truth is better Guest

      Not true. Australia has always allowed its citizens to come back to Australia during the pandemic. However, there were very limited flights to do so as airlines stopped operating.

    3. James Guest

      That is simply not true and is perhaps a reflection of the government of misinformation at the time that was all to happy to put its own citizens against each other. The Australian government had a weekly quota with most of the flights that were operating only having 39-50 people on board. Naturally airlines took the highest revenue passengers meaning those who had the means, had a “business reason” and were happy to do the...

      That is simply not true and is perhaps a reflection of the government of misinformation at the time that was all to happy to put its own citizens against each other. The Australian government had a weekly quota with most of the flights that were operating only having 39-50 people on board. Naturally airlines took the highest revenue passengers meaning those who had the means, had a “business reason” and were happy to do the two week quarantine were able to travel rather freely during the pandemic, while those of lesser means were stuck overseas. It was a disgusting aberration of a policy from an Australian government of the time that cared little for its citizens stuck overseas and refused to invest and take responsibility for quarantine facilities in Australia until it was to late.

    4. ecco Member

      You are correct re New Zealand being closed. The NZ prime minister Ardern has only just dropped mask wearing regulations which were greatly putting off tourists coming, as her poll ratings are sagging.

  44. NYGuy24 Diamond

    I'm not sure where you get that Japanese don't want foreigners there because they want to enjoy their country or whatever. There is a massive push from the Japanese in the tourism industry to reopen the borders. You do understand that as of yesterday they are talking about increasing the numbers of people coming in and that in September they are talking about opening up to solo visitors right?

    Understand that Japan is currently experiencing...

    I'm not sure where you get that Japanese don't want foreigners there because they want to enjoy their country or whatever. There is a massive push from the Japanese in the tourism industry to reopen the borders. You do understand that as of yesterday they are talking about increasing the numbers of people coming in and that in September they are talking about opening up to solo visitors right?

    Understand that Japan is currently experiencing the highest infection rate in the world and their hospital system is struggling given their elderly population. On top of that there was elections in July and the summer holiday in Japan this month. Expect things to open up this Fall. What you should not expect is the Japanese government to give a detailed blueprint of their future plans. That is not how the Japanese government works. also, understand that the tourism industry isn't setup to host large numbers of tourists. Lots of hotels are shutdown etc. It takes time to get everything up and running.

    1. Alyssa Guest

      Japan is experiencing the highest infection rate in the world, meaning that their existing border measures have failed. What point is there is maintaining them? Even countries like Australia and New Zealand, which were once far more draconian than Japan, realized this and accepted reality.

      Also, like everyone else in this thread, you have misinterpreted media reports. The Japanese government has explicitly said that it will continue banning individual tourists; however, it will allow individual...

      Japan is experiencing the highest infection rate in the world, meaning that their existing border measures have failed. What point is there is maintaining them? Even countries like Australia and New Zealand, which were once far more draconian than Japan, realized this and accepted reality.

      Also, like everyone else in this thread, you have misinterpreted media reports. The Japanese government has explicitly said that it will continue banning individual tourists; however, it will allow individual travelers to purchase self-guided tour packages and travel in Japan on fixed itineraries, just without a guide.

      Not really progress so much as re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic...

    2. Fed UP Guest

      total crap.... no one is going to pay 1000s upon 1000s of Japanese Yen to have some overpriced travel agency "plan" your strictly control leisure itinerary ... just to gain access to Japan as the travel agency hands you a stack of "compliance documents" to abide by. No thank you.

    3. Rotuma Diamond

      Maybe Japan feels that individual visitors will bring Covid with them, but group tourists won’t. Seems backwards.

    4. E. Guest

      Border measures will all fail, it's been around since late 2019. Any and all of the evil measures taken by governments to expand the power of the state failed because the purpose was not a virus but to expand power and shift the Overton window once the public started panicking.

    5. Fed UP Guest

      there is a massive push by the travel industry - HA - to no avail - still cannot enter the country for independent leisure travel for the 3x vaccinated. Period.

    6. Bob Guest

      But rumors are that they are also going to require you to book your flight and accommodation through a service like the crazy travel packages they currently do. The difference is that once you're in you don't need to be chaperoned. To me that's the same as not wanting tourists because much like the current situation most tourist will take a hard pass at any middleman money grab travel.

  45. SHorizons Guest

    I lived in Kyoto for two years from 2020-2022 during the entire time they country was closed. I talked to many locals who basically are enjoying their home city now without the hordes and they want to keep it that way. I could sympathize with them as I had Fushimi Inari to myself one day.
    On the flip side on a bigger scale Kyoto is nearing bankruptcy due to other factors (subway line costs)...

    I lived in Kyoto for two years from 2020-2022 during the entire time they country was closed. I talked to many locals who basically are enjoying their home city now without the hordes and they want to keep it that way. I could sympathize with them as I had Fushimi Inari to myself one day.
    On the flip side on a bigger scale Kyoto is nearing bankruptcy due to other factors (subway line costs) so I'm guessing the local governance really want tourism back but if it was up the locals - they would rather live without the tourists.

    1. Tamanegi Guest

      If JP ppl wanted to live in a country without foreigners, they should've had more children.

  46. Darlene Harris Guest

    I live here and would love to walk around without wearing a mask….I have been to the states three times in the last few months and it is basically back to normal.
    Here it is normal for them to wear the mask. They even wear it while they are driving and the only in in their car. Just not something I can get used to. I also think there are so many people in...

    I live here and would love to walk around without wearing a mask….I have been to the states three times in the last few months and it is basically back to normal.
    Here it is normal for them to wear the mask. They even wear it while they are driving and the only in in their car. Just not something I can get used to. I also think there are so many people in Japan that they are traveling quite a bit within the country. I go to places and it’s still busy. I can’t imagine if borders were open how busier it would be.

  47. Omar Guest

    It's weird to me that people say Japan's covid response has been a big success. People forget it was the slowest country in the G20 to vaccinate its population and now they are seeing the huge explosion that was always inevitable.

    1. Alyssa Guest

      I think it's more a product for how poorly Westerners understand Japan more broadly, and their tendency to err on the side of giving Japan the benefit of the doubt, or assuming some inherent competence.

      It's sexy, if a bit orientalist, to believe that Japan is a futuristic cyberpunk wonderland where people wear masks all the time due to compassion rather than conformity, and which managed to beat coronavirus with said compassion (and by...

      I think it's more a product for how poorly Westerners understand Japan more broadly, and their tendency to err on the side of giving Japan the benefit of the doubt, or assuming some inherent competence.

      It's sexy, if a bit orientalist, to believe that Japan is a futuristic cyberpunk wonderland where people wear masks all the time due to compassion rather than conformity, and which managed to beat coronavirus with said compassion (and by locking out dirty foreigners who eschew it).

      It's not as fun to reckon with Japan's reality: An aging, increasingly provincial country run by frumpy salarymen who smell of cigarettes and communicate using fax machines and flip phones, and whose covid "success" is mostly a function of the developed world's lowest testing rates, and is in fact belied by border measures that were mostly pointless, since they only applied to foreigners. Japanese people brought the virus in (and plenty of it if recent infection rates are any indication).

    2. Fed UP Guest

      Covid in Japan is spread by community spread by Japanese. Currently Japanese wouldn't get within 2 meters, much less 30 meters of any gaijing (foreigner). This is the same broken record that Canada went on about, they blamed international travels for spreading COVID, when the border was completely closed to non citizens and only a trickle of Canadians were entering the country. Same broken record of false narratives, with the same end result

  48. JD Guest

    Actually, this is not quite factual. American and other tourists are, indeed, allowed entry now as long as you are part of an approved, organized tourist group. I have several friends on a tour of Japan currently. A PCR test and special app tracking are required. As a point of information, you can also transit a Japanese airport, even without a PCR test, as long as you do not leave the international transfer section of the same airport.

    1. Alyssa Guest

      This would be fine if you were traveling to Iran or North Korea, but is absolutely unacceptable for a free country like Japan, which has agreed to mutually exempt foreign nationals of dozens of countries from having to obtain visas. It's sickening for me to watch people defend Japan's treatment of foreigners as if it is somehow normal or acceptable.

    2. Andrew Diamond

      Totally agreed with Alyssa - this is totalitarian state tourism. Technically possible, but morally incorrect when other countries welcome your populace.

      It's just xenophobia disguised as public health.

    3. Skyward Geek Member

      Yet, the United States also does a form of this.

      Unvaccinated non-US citizens and residents without a specific reason for travel (e.g. tourism doesn't count) aren't allowed in. Yet unvaccinated citizens can travel freely. Why?

    4. Andrew Diamond

      My guess is that this is because Medicare doesn't cover them and ICU stays will become a massive financial burden on our already-burdened healthcare provider organizations.

    5. Fed^ UP Guest

      Totally agree... Can you imagine right now.. Japan was already xenophobic before COVID... You spend a ton of money to go on an overpriced tour, only to have the locals in total fear of coming near you... what fun ! It will take a while for the indoctrination to wear off...

    6. Todd Scheven Gold

      >>As a point of information, you can also transit a Japanese airport, even without a PCR test, as long as you do not leave the international transfer section of the same airport.

      But only if your connecting flight is on the same calendar day.

    7. tuotuo Guest

      24 hours.Not necessarily the same calendar day

    8. Bob Guest

      I think you're trying to make it sound better than it actually is. For one, you are basically being monitored at all times. You can't leave your hotel at night and walk around different neighborhoods and go bar hopping for example. There are time and location limits if you don't want chaperone. Who want to deal with that craziness. That's why only about 8,000 people took advantage of those extra expensive packages.

  49. Ralph4878 Guest

    All the clutched pearls here about Japan and yet, half of the United States population would probably react the same way if asked or given the chance.

    1. Alyssa Guest

      No. Most Americans want limits on people coming to our country to live, but most understand that tourism is hugely beneficial to our economy with almost no downside.

      Indeed, if America (or Britain, Canada or any European country) was conducting itself like Japan, it would be a front page news story. Japan gets a pass because in spite of how much many of us want to travel there, it's just not very important to global...

      No. Most Americans want limits on people coming to our country to live, but most understand that tourism is hugely beneficial to our economy with almost no downside.

      Indeed, if America (or Britain, Canada or any European country) was conducting itself like Japan, it would be a front page news story. Japan gets a pass because in spite of how much many of us want to travel there, it's just not very important to global society, apart from some niche economic matters, and its role as the top Asian security partner for the US and NATO.

    2. Ralph4878 Guest

      So, white Americans asking Asian Americans questions like, "But where are you really from?" doesn't happen all the time?
      Black and Muslim Americans being told to "Go back to where you came from!" doesn't happen all the time?
      We had a president saying these things.
      We have a history of excluding folks - we put Asian Americans in internment camps not that long ago.
      I'm not saying I agree with what...

      So, white Americans asking Asian Americans questions like, "But where are you really from?" doesn't happen all the time?
      Black and Muslim Americans being told to "Go back to where you came from!" doesn't happen all the time?
      We had a president saying these things.
      We have a history of excluding folks - we put Asian Americans in internment camps not that long ago.
      I'm not saying I agree with what Japan is doing - on the contrary, I think it is a bit silly - and I'm not denying the apparent xenophobia here...but let's not pretend Americans aren't seriously xenophobic as well.

    3. Alyssa Guest

      Many Americans have racist or xenophobic attitudes, but our system of government and society is fitted with safeguards against institutionalizing these attitudes, and is refining itself more in an equitable direction in every year.

    4. Ralph4878 Guest

      "...our system of government and society is fitted with safeguards against institutionalizing these attitudes, and is refining itself more in an equitable direction every year."
      I appreciate the optimism here, but it appears we live in different realities. Racial discrimination is still pervasive - whether its redlining, mass incarceration of BIPOC folks, racial profiling by law enforcement, shady hiring practices, etc..,. Hate crime and hate speech legislation is painfully weak (actually, we don't have...

      "...our system of government and society is fitted with safeguards against institutionalizing these attitudes, and is refining itself more in an equitable direction every year."
      I appreciate the optimism here, but it appears we live in different realities. Racial discrimination is still pervasive - whether its redlining, mass incarceration of BIPOC folks, racial profiling by law enforcement, shady hiring practices, etc..,. Hate crime and hate speech legislation is painfully weak (actually, we don't have any hate speech laws). Laws are being passed to criminalize teaching the realities of American history and to erase the lived experiences and histories of People of Color, Indigenous and Native Americans, and LBGTQ+ folks. Books are being banned. People are being told which gender they are allowed to be by their state governments and which bathrooms they can use. Public education is in shambles thanks to a concerted effort to strip it of funding in favor of religious education. "Freedom of Religion" has become code for "Christianity only." So many of these things are institutionalizing supremacist ideology behind the guise of "states' rights." It doesn't seem like we are moving towards equity and inclusion, but rather the opposite.

    5. JH Guest

      "(actually, we don't have any hate speech laws)."

      My God...you have no idea what the 1st Ammendment means, do you?

    6. JH Guest

      I don't know about you but I would rather live in a country where people will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

      It seems that we're completely fixated on skin color and growing more racist and xenophobic by the day.

    7. Ralph4878 Guest

      @JH - hate speech is protected speech under the 1st Amendment, insanely...we're the only "developed" nation in the world that doesn't outlaw hate speech. And I would love to live in a country where people will not be judged by the color of their skin. But that's not the reality in the United States - race matters because too many white Americans don't feel this way, and the "reverse racism" bs and white victimhood nonsense...

      @JH - hate speech is protected speech under the 1st Amendment, insanely...we're the only "developed" nation in the world that doesn't outlaw hate speech. And I would love to live in a country where people will not be judged by the color of their skin. But that's not the reality in the United States - race matters because too many white Americans don't feel this way, and the "reverse racism" bs and white victimhood nonsense many claim only serves to perpetuate supremacist ideologies and deny that white folks in America benefit from privileges People of Color do not. Denying that race matters is the United States is to deny the lived experiences People of Color have every day.

    8. The truth is better Guest

      Completely right, this obsession of races in the US is very alarming. That is not good at all.

    9. DoDo Guest

      (((it's just not very important to global society,)))

      Japan's GDP is the third biggest in the world, do you know anything about economy? Japan's economy is bigger than any European countries or Canada or UK that you stated above.
      I dunno where you are coming from but Canada or UK's economy news don't make a top news or anyone cares.
      Also, Japan's tourism from foreign tourists before covid only contributed less than 1%...

      (((it's just not very important to global society,)))

      Japan's GDP is the third biggest in the world, do you know anything about economy? Japan's economy is bigger than any European countries or Canada or UK that you stated above.
      I dunno where you are coming from but Canada or UK's economy news don't make a top news or anyone cares.
      Also, Japan's tourism from foreign tourists before covid only contributed less than 1% to the Japanese economy. So they don't really give a damn about tiny amount of money that tourists could bring in to their country.
      But I do agree that they should follow visa waiver agreements with those agreed with between other countries.

      If you happen to know the fact or happened to know a little bit of the world economy, Japanese government is the richest government in the world.
      Just google it.

  50. EWJr. Guest

    The information in your article seems to be at odds with what the news sources - Bloomberg, NPR, Reuters - are reporting. Even the Japanese news - NHK - is saying that things are changing as of early September for tourist entry. Confusing !!

    1. Alyssa Guest

      They are opening to “unguided tours,” which means that tourists will still have to purchase expensive package tours, but can do them without a guide. Still a sham, still unacceptable.

    2. EWjr Guest

      That's not what is being reported. Where is it posted that tourists must purchase "unguided tours?" Sorry but that sounds a little contrived. NHK is still reporting differently,

    3. NYGuy24 Diamond

      ::shrug:: I have heard the same thing. Japan is all about having people to hold accountable. If they make you book through a travel agency then they can hold the travel agency responsible if there is an issue so these reports are not surprising at all. The Japanese government moves in small steps not drastically.

    4. EWjr Guest

      "Unguided tours"......sounds a bit contrived to me !! NHK is still reporting a September easing of restrictions for tourists. No one has said anything about mandatory tour purchases which would be an important piece of information.

    5. Alyssa Guest

      I’m getting it from the original (Japanese) versions of the articles.

  51. Andrew Diamond

    I used to care, but I don't anymore. I travel to other places in Asia. Korea and Singapore are awesome!

  52. Brad C Guest

    I think a big issue would be mask use by foreign tourists. Despite no legally enforced mask mandate, Japan has a near universal mask use rate due to peer pressure and different societal values. I'm all for masks, but I can see a lot of foreign tourists struggle to wear masks everywhere especially outdoors.

    Even if Japan opens up in the near future, I would only go in the next few years if you're ok with wearing a mask at all times.

    1. Skyward Geek Member

      Ironically with BA.5 omicron, and Japan seeing record high infection rates even without tourists and with high mask wearing... none of this seems to make sense anymore. Just open up and be done with it. Most of the world has.

  53. Chris d Guest

    I concur with other posters that other nations should impose reciprocity. So for the US, based on the current situation reimpose the travel ban; and if they allow people in but not without a visa, remove them from the US VWP. Losing access to Hawaii would likely focus a few minds in Japan.

    1. Sel, D. Guest

      And hurt the Hawaiian economy as well as the mainland. It doesn’t help us.

  54. Jason Guest

    It’s just small-town mentality mixed with a healthy dose of xenophobia. I have a residence card, so although not a Japanese national, i’ve been able to come and go to japan from the US as freely as the japanese have. There’s been weird periods of quarantine and other BS measures but i’ve seen it all. It still amazes me that the perception within japan is that covid is strictly an issue with the outside world....

    It’s just small-town mentality mixed with a healthy dose of xenophobia. I have a residence card, so although not a Japanese national, i’ve been able to come and go to japan from the US as freely as the japanese have. There’s been weird periods of quarantine and other BS measures but i’ve seen it all. It still amazes me that the perception within japan is that covid is strictly an issue with the outside world. The government doesn’t even like to admit community spread happens, it’s much easier to scapegoat foreigners or people who’ve gone abroad and supposedly brought it back. With their own rates higher per capita than most other places, perhaps the rest of the world should make japanese visitors quarantine on arrival or get visas.

    1. Skyward Geek Member

      These days, Japan clearly is trying to compete for worst destination along with mainland China and Hong Kong.

  55. Stuart Guest

    I don’t think the opinion is the same related to business travel. I have a number of pending meetings in Japan and the parties are all growing very frustrated at the Govt. not allowing in business travelers unless well connected or in extreme circumstances. Tourism may be impacted, sure, but from a commerce standpoint it is turning a lot of people away from doing business in Japan.

  56. Moodz Member

    As an expat who has lived in Japan for over 20 years, I can definitely agree that there is an inherent distrust of foreigners ingrained in the society which has led to the current border closures.

    It doesn’t help that in a country where almost everyone wears a mask during this pandemic, when you see someone unmasked, it’s a foreigner 99% of the time. This adds fuel to the fire of the local population’s distrust.

    ...

    As an expat who has lived in Japan for over 20 years, I can definitely agree that there is an inherent distrust of foreigners ingrained in the society which has led to the current border closures.

    It doesn’t help that in a country where almost everyone wears a mask during this pandemic, when you see someone unmasked, it’s a foreigner 99% of the time. This adds fuel to the fire of the local population’s distrust.

    For those who have said that countries should cancel reciprocal visa policies, South Korea has already done this for Japanese nationals. If more countries do the same, it will nudge the government to open up the borders.

    Having said all that, it has really been lovely to be able to explore Japan without the mobs of tourists, especially at places like Kyoto. I think if the borders do open up, there needs to be a more measured approach to tourism.

    1. Alyssa Guest

      ...says a person who is essentially a long-stay tourist in Japan, lol

    2. Moodz Member

      Yes! And it has indeed been lovely. I wish that you could also enjoy Japan as I have been able to, but alas, you cannot.

    3. Alyssa Guest

      I have lived in Japan several times in my long life, darling. I much prefer coming as a tourist! It's more fun receiving fake omotenashi for a couple weeks than seeing the truth of Japan over several years, and accepting that I will never be "one of them," no matter how much I conform to cultural customs or how well I speak 日本語.

    4. Andrew Diamond

      Weird flex, Moodz. "I get to enjoy xenophobia locally!"

    5. Skyward Geek Member

      I'm close to inventing a business reason.

  57. zagman1112 Member

    Any country still hanging onto these Covid restrictions are nothing but common idiots at this point (looking at you Germany and Japan). Most of the world has shown this year that if you just move on with life, Covid doesn't affect anything any more than the flu does. It's just a complete joke at this point that there are still countries pretending that Covid is an emergency. It hasn't been an emergency since vaccines became available.

    1. Rotuma Diamond

      True. I had both jabs, still got Covid 6 months later. One of colleagues didn’t get vaccine; his case of Covid was as mild as mine. Tuberculosis is more deadly, but governments didn’t lock down their countries for that.

  58. CS Guest

    Lucky - is a foreign traveler able to transit through Japan? For example, is it allowable for someone from the US to fly to Japan and then onward to some other country without any Covid requirements/restrictions?

    1. Moodz Member

      Yes, I recently returned from Canada and 90% of the flight was connecting to onward flights. We had to wait in the plane until the connecting passengers deplaned and processed.

    2. CS Guest

      Thank you! That's what I was thinking but wanted to confirm.

    3. Andrew Diamond

      Yes definitely. You have to wait for all the Japan-bound travelers to deplane first. Plan your timing appropriate if it's not all on the same ticket.

    4. Todd Scheven Gold

      Was your transit to an onward flight within the same calendar day or past midnight into the next day?

      This seems to be the sticking point currently and also seems to differ between NRT and HND, which is bizarre because it's based on a federal policy.

    5. Andrew Diamond

      Mine was the same day in Narita. I'm going again in a few weeks, on a separate ticket. It's also the same day. I have read that NRT closes so you can't spend the night in there.

      That differs from Haneda, which (I've read) lets you sleep on the floor or chairs if your departure is the next day.

  59. eds183 Guest

    They will need to open back up and along with most posters I think it will be by the end of the year. Eventually other countries will start to punish them via visa requirements and reciprocal tourism bans. They can only use the Covid excuse for so long.

  60. Rob Guest

    Not a surprise since if you've put any amount of time studying Japanese culture, it's one of the most xenophobic in the world. With that said, I'd expect it would eventually open up in 2023 since the economic impact is too huge on the travel sector.

    1. NYGuy24 Diamond

      They are xenophobic like some other countries as well. That being said they are going to be opening up more In September/October. The chances of them going backwards at this point are very low. They are facing record covid numbers and have the worst infection rate in the world yet they are not shutting back down domestically. Its clear the government has decided that they just have to live with covid but they won't just...

      They are xenophobic like some other countries as well. That being said they are going to be opening up more In September/October. The chances of them going backwards at this point are very low. They are facing record covid numbers and have the worst infection rate in the world yet they are not shutting back down domestically. Its clear the government has decided that they just have to live with covid but they won't just throw the doors open the way the US does. It was be a step by step process and they won't telegraph their entire plan. Besides the tourism industry in Japan needs time to spin up. There wouldn't even be enough hotel rooms available if they threw the doors open to all tourists at this point.

  61. Leon Guest

    Every time I see JAL or China Airlines land at LAX it infuriates me. We should have had reciprocality with these countries for YEARS already. Unless our citizens are allowed into your country, you can NOT enter the United States.

    1. Alyssa Guest

      Same. Unfortunately, no one in the current State Department has any balls. I doubt many even know us plebs are banned, since as VIPs they've never had issues entering Japan.

    2. Andrew Diamond

      Don't hate. I use JAL to fly to Korea and Singapore.

    3. Tim Dunn Diamond

      first, China Airlines is a Tairwanese airline. Taiwan has not restricted the number of U.S. flights that are allowed to operate from the US to Taiwan.
      China, on the other hand, has restricted the number of flights that are even allowed to operate into China and the US has indeed reciprocated with the same restrictions.

    4. Andrew Diamond

      Let's be fair, Tim. Taiwan has a similar entry policy as Japan and China when it comes to individual travelers for tourism purposes. No one's riled up about it because they didn't have much for tourism industry to begin with.

  62. Bob Guest

    As wonderful as Japan is, there's a deeply xenophobic aspect to the culture. COVID has made it OK to be openly xenophobic.

    The government has no choice but to be very very slow in reopening tourism.

    Frankly - Korea's current policy is more annoying and nonsensical than this. Korea is currently open to all travel - but requires both a pre-departure test and and a PCR immediately on arrival.

    1. Alyssa Guest

      Call me crazy, but I'd say a couple covid tests are slightly less disruptive to travel than a de-facto ban.

    2. Andrew Guest

      @Bob Just went to Korea last month and did not have to take a test on arrival. The now-required visa (prior to arrival) was far more annoying than the pre-travel test IMO.

  63. Never In Doubt Guest

    Japan, historically xenophobic, now has a convenient excuse for it!

  64. Mike Guest

    Countries should impose the same restrictions on Japanese tourists.

  65. dantheman Member

    Leaks from the Japanese gov shows they're going to start allowing tourists in again: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220824_01/

    This comes with significantly more restrictions than pre-covid, but is a big step in the right direction. Essentially it seems that you will still have to apply through a travel agency to get a tourist visa, but you won't have to be part of a guided tour. The travel agency will be responsible for you, essentially acting as your sponsor....

    Leaks from the Japanese gov shows they're going to start allowing tourists in again: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220824_01/

    This comes with significantly more restrictions than pre-covid, but is a big step in the right direction. Essentially it seems that you will still have to apply through a travel agency to get a tourist visa, but you won't have to be part of a guided tour. The travel agency will be responsible for you, essentially acting as your sponsor. More details will emerge soon I'm sure but I love visiting Japan and am ok to do the extra paperwork if it means I'll have free movement once I'm there.

    1. Chris Guest

      Thanks Dan for sharing this article and it seems in line with the government's slow and deliberate moves to reopen. I'm happy to do the extra paperwork also and while a nuisance, this modified requirement is much better than what is currently in place.

    2. wfb Guest

      Thank you, Dan. I have an overnight layover at Haneda in November which just might happen.

    3. Alyssa Guest

      I'm not sure that's what's planned, unfortunately. The Japanese-language articles suggest you'll need to purchase a self-guided tour package, which is priced similarly to a guided tour and basically occupies all day of every day of your schedule. I doubt anyone who was not interested in the previous tour offerings will be swayed by the same thing without a North Korea-style chaperone.

  66. Clem Diamond

    That's also why I'm also kinda surprised at the lack of premium award availability on ANA, still... it's like it's almost harder to find now than before the pandemic, despite the tiny volumes of pax they probably have right now.

    1. Andrew Diamond

      They reduced inventory because it's unclear when many will be able to fly. Everyone keeps deferring tickets which means there will be extraordinary demand once it reopens.

      Oh and they also cancelled F on several routes.

  67. Chas Guest

    Not that surprising of a reaction on the part of the Japanese public if you have been paying attention over the last 15 years. The compounding effects of the “spoiling” of tourist (and more importantly) non-tourist sites by foreign tourists and the increasing share of those foreign tourists being from mainland China is likely more than the Japanese public is willing to bear.

    Japan was relatively inaccessible as recently as 10 years ago- very low...

    Not that surprising of a reaction on the part of the Japanese public if you have been paying attention over the last 15 years. The compounding effects of the “spoiling” of tourist (and more importantly) non-tourist sites by foreign tourists and the increasing share of those foreign tourists being from mainland China is likely more than the Japanese public is willing to bear.

    Japan was relatively inaccessible as recently as 10 years ago- very low English proficiency especially beyond Tokyo, long flight, expensive due to exchange rates, etc. Now anyone with a smart phone can get a reservation at the best Michelin-starred sushi restaurant in Tokyo without even being able to utter “arigatou.” You could see signals things were getting tapped out in recent years too: “no foreigners” signs at bars in Golden Gai or Nonbeyokocho started popping up, lines to get into places like Kiyomizudera started stretching all the way through Gion, etc.

    A lot of this is understandable too: a large part of the charm of a bar with a total of 5 stools in it is lost when 3 of those 5 stools are occupied by people who speak no Japanese and are only there because of a lonely planet book or travel blog they read. Add to that inherent Japanese xenophobia, plus simmering racism towards other East Asians and it shouldn’t be a surprise that things eventually reached a tipping point. And this is to say nothing of the behavior of the types of tourists that show up as international travel became more and more democratized.

    Obviously barring all foreign tourists is on the extreme end, but I don’t think it would be terrible if the bar to enter Japan as a tourist were a little higher; might bring some of the charm back.

  68. JohnO Guest

    As a Japanese national living in North America, even I have felt a sense of discrimination during the pandemic when travelling to Japan. For many Japanese living in Japan, I too am an outsider. Although I have never been confronted face-to-face, many opinions that I have heard from locals on Japanese TV and websites are basically, don’t come back to Japan, since you could add burden to our already frail health care system. Heck, some...

    As a Japanese national living in North America, even I have felt a sense of discrimination during the pandemic when travelling to Japan. For many Japanese living in Japan, I too am an outsider. Although I have never been confronted face-to-face, many opinions that I have heard from locals on Japanese TV and websites are basically, don’t come back to Japan, since you could add burden to our already frail health care system. Heck, some of my Japanese friends living in Tokyo have been told not to come back to their hometown in the countryside, since they could bring COVID. It’s the Japanese “mura-shakai”, or small-town mentality. It’s sad, since I understand why it could be seen as racist and xenophobic.

  69. Brian L. Guest

    Paging Commodore Perry.

    1. Alyssa Guest

      The problem these days is that all VIPs are free to enter Japan, and probably have no idea the country is closed to ordinary people. Even if someone famous or influential was inclined to urge Japan to open in a public forum, they likely wouldn't even know that they'd need to.

  70. Brian Guest

    I went to Japan for the Olympics to work last summer for 3 weeks. I guess I was technically in Japan but for 14 days I could only go from my hotel to the venues I was assigned and a 7/11 next door. No exceptions. Tracking software installed on phone at Narita.

    I was fully vaxxed and being tested every other day. At the time the vax rate in Japan was less than 30%. People...

    I went to Japan for the Olympics to work last summer for 3 weeks. I guess I was technically in Japan but for 14 days I could only go from my hotel to the venues I was assigned and a 7/11 next door. No exceptions. Tracking software installed on phone at Narita.

    I was fully vaxxed and being tested every other day. At the time the vax rate in Japan was less than 30%. People there treated me as if I was radiating Covid every step. As I went through Tokyo in my sealed van every day, I would see the above ground subways PACKED with people while the city was allegedly in a state of emergency. Every day the Covid cases spiked with Omicron.

    After 14 days when I was allowed to leave hotel and go to restaurants I didn’t because in a week I had to go home and pass test to get back to US. And it was me who did not trust them from getting me sick.

    Their common sense was completely gone. Their distrust of foreigners was the theme of the trip. Even though it was largely us who should’ve feared them.

    None of this surprises me

  71. Vijay Guest

    Who cares? Japanese are one of the most racist, nationalist countries in the world. If you really need asian hospitality, you can visit any number of countries for an equal experience. Furthermore, with currently strong USD, we Americans can live like kings during a vacation in any other country. Long Live the Gaijin!

    1. Speak well Guest

      Such a caricaturist view. Asian hospitality doesn't make any sense; japan is not Korea is not Thailand is not Cambodia, and so on... You accuse Japanese of being racists - which I think you make a confusion with the term xenophobic -, and yourself speak about Asian hospitality as all Asians countries would be the same. Who is the racist?

  72. Too Many Guest

    They'll open in time for the 2025 World Expo in Osaka.

    1. Alyssa Guest

      Either that, or they will hold a shambolic Japanese-only “World Expo.”

  73. Tom Guest

    As someone who hasn’t just traveled to Japan for leisure but also many times for work, I got a very different lesson in Japanese culture. They’re a very homogeneous society, and as such, there is a deep nationalistic pride going back to the world war II. You can learn how to speak perfect Japanese, immerse yourself in the culture, basically do everything possible to assimilate but you will never be one of them and they...

    As someone who hasn’t just traveled to Japan for leisure but also many times for work, I got a very different lesson in Japanese culture. They’re a very homogeneous society, and as such, there is a deep nationalistic pride going back to the world war II. You can learn how to speak perfect Japanese, immerse yourself in the culture, basically do everything possible to assimilate but you will never be one of them and they will forever view you as an outsider. This is coming from several former Japanese colleagues of mine and not just my personal opinion. In short, they love the idea of keeping Japan for only the Japanese and COVID has provided them with that. Everywhere else this is called racism so you be the judge.

  74. Tim Dunn Diamond

    I too have always loved traveling in Japan and am disappointed how long they are taking to reopen.
    I don't think tourism rules need to be reciprocal. If they want to no longer allow non-group tourism, that is their choice. Many Japanese travel in tours so they are creating rules that match the way their society operates.
    The real implication is the future size of the airline industry to/from Japan if restrictions are...

    I too have always loved traveling in Japan and am disappointed how long they are taking to reopen.
    I don't think tourism rules need to be reciprocal. If they want to no longer allow non-group tourism, that is their choice. Many Japanese travel in tours so they are creating rules that match the way their society operates.
    The real implication is the future size of the airline industry to/from Japan if restrictions are not lifted. With business travel down and foreigners not free to roam around Japan freely, there is no way that the current rules will allow the amount of air service Japan had pre-covid to remain. You gotta think that ANA and JAL are not happy about this move to ban individual foreign travelers.

    1. Tony Guest

      Responded to the wrong post. The reply above is meant for another post.

  75. Alex Guest

    Good for them, a country has the ability to determine its own border policies as it sees fit otherwise it has no sovereignty. This is much more the historical norm for Japan. It bums me out as a tourist having been there once for a few weeks but my whims are not the sole driving force behind Japanese government decisions. It is important as your emphasize this has nothing to do with covid, Japan has...

    Good for them, a country has the ability to determine its own border policies as it sees fit otherwise it has no sovereignty. This is much more the historical norm for Japan. It bums me out as a tourist having been there once for a few weeks but my whims are not the sole driving force behind Japanese government decisions. It is important as your emphasize this has nothing to do with covid, Japan has mostly been open as far as that goes since mid 2020 domestically. The talk of retaliatory border controls is silly imo and denies a basic fact that certain societies choose to be more or less open.

    1. Alyssa Guest

      The problem with this viewpoint is that Japan has signed visa waiver agreements with dozens of countries, all of which are contingent on reciprocity. So this is not merely an issue of "saw-vren-tee," i.e. the buzzword ignorant yokels on the American Right use to push for draconian border policies. It is a violation of countless agreements Japan has signed on to; the question is whether anyone will hold them to account.

    2. eds183 Guest

      Just put the reciprocal standards in place for Japanese tourists to say... Hawaii, Mainland US, Vancouver, Singapore, Manila, London and perhaps attitudes will change.

    3. Sammy New Member

      What "draconian border policies"? I think most agree that the southern border is a sieve for anyone who wants to enter illegally.

  76. K4 Guest

    Don’t forget Japan did this before.

    Google Sakoku.

  77. Tony Guest

    It isn't correct to say that Japan and China are the only countries that tourists can't visit due to Covid. Taiwan is another such place.

    1. JetSetFly Guest

      You only have to quarantine for three days and no public transportation for the first week. I think this is pretty mild compare to Japan and China.

    2. David Guest

      Incorrect. That is only if you are eligible for entry, which tourists are not.

    3. Alyssa Guest

      The difference is that Taiwan applies the same rule to Taiwanese and foreigners. Japan bans virtually all foreigners under the guise of "covid," while allowing its own citizens to travel as if it's 2019. It's dictionary-definition racism. Taiwan's policy is ridiculous, but it's at least somewhat rooted in logic.

  78. Alonzo Diamond

    It's pretty clear that Japan intends to stay closed to gaijin until the end of the decade, not sure why there's always so much speculation. Japan has learned to live without dependency on tourism. We're talking about one of the top 5 economies in the world.

    1. JH Guest

      Yes, but they have roughly $10 TRILLION (USD equivalent) in debt.

      Do they expect that situation to get better with closed borders?

      Will western and other Asian countries stop doing business there all together?

      And don't forget...Japan is short on natural resources so they need trading partners.

      While culturally this may be popular I don't think it will be good for them financially.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      whether Japan opens for tourism won't make or break their future which is being shaped by larger factors including its aging population and unwillingness to allow non-Japanese immigration. As noted above, they are a homogenous society and how they view tourism reflects that.
      I still am not convinced that Japan won't open its borders to individual tourism but I think we all know that, if they don't, covid won't be the real reason.
      ...

      whether Japan opens for tourism won't make or break their future which is being shaped by larger factors including its aging population and unwillingness to allow non-Japanese immigration. As noted above, they are a homogenous society and how they view tourism reflects that.
      I still am not convinced that Japan won't open its borders to individual tourism but I think we all know that, if they don't, covid won't be the real reason.
      Given that covid cases are spiking in Japan -even if wild, the impact on an elderly population that didn't see high infection rates during the "heart of the pandemic" is different than for western countries.
      It might be premature to jump to conclusions. If we are still here in March 2023, then we might need to revisit the subject.

    3. Alonzo Diamond

      You think Japan cares about some stupid debt? Hell no. Japan also owns a large chunk of US debt. They don't care cause ain't nobody coming to collect.

  79. Ran Guest

    Why would you go to a country that doesn’t want you? There are other 200 countries in the world you can go.

    1. Julia Guest

      Because nothing gets people going more than being told they can't get past the velvet rope...

    2. Zain Guest

      Honestly-because there are people there who want to see me.
      I have fallen in and out of love with Japan since my first trip there in 2016, but when I went pre-pandemic in 2019 I left completely in love with the country and my friends there. Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I went out of my way to form real friendships and relationships with Japanese people in Japan, to the point that they...

      Honestly-because there are people there who want to see me.
      I have fallen in and out of love with Japan since my first trip there in 2016, but when I went pre-pandemic in 2019 I left completely in love with the country and my friends there. Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I went out of my way to form real friendships and relationships with Japanese people in Japan, to the point that they are willing to open up and be vunerable (and I return the same). It's been over 2 and a half years and if they don't have a real individual tourist opening by the end of the year-it will have been 3 years since I've stepped foot in Japan. Years of zoom meetings (for Toastmasters), phone calls, and LINE messages are one thing. But the packaged tours that are being pushed now do nothing for me, guided or unguided.

  80. Ryan Guest

    As someone who lived in Japan for 9 years, am in a happy marriage with a Japanese national, and loved everything about my time there, it saddens me to be confronted with how racist the country actually is.

    Call a spade a spade. It’s racism.

    1. Ralph4878 Guest

      Soooo...they're letting in Chinese? Koreans? Thais? Cambodians? Laos? Indonesians? Vietnamese? Just barring non-Asians?

  81. Fatty380 Guest

    EU and US should ban Japanese tourists till GOJ drop restrictions on us from entering their country.

    Was suppose to visit Japan next month but their silly policy prevent me from doing that. Japan government need to pay the price for their persistent restrictions on tourists

    1. Mike Guest

      That has nothing to do with this conversation.

    2. DC Guest

      Thank you for your brilliant insights, doctor. We all appreciate you blessing us with your wisdom

    3. Efer Guest

      Well, its been almost a year since I cant enter the US due to a non sensical vaccine rule for foreigners, but Americans can come in in my country (Im glad they can and we dropped the stupid rules). So lets say we all are with stupid in some ways regarding internation travel.

    4. DC Guest

      Out of curiosity, what is the rule preventing you from entry? My understanding is that anyone can come in as long as they are vaccinated, and that includes multiple globally used vaccines. Is one of them not available where you are, or are you from a country on some sort of exclusion list? (I'm not aware of such a list, I'm asking as I'm not aware of it)

      If someone isn't being let in because...

      Out of curiosity, what is the rule preventing you from entry? My understanding is that anyone can come in as long as they are vaccinated, and that includes multiple globally used vaccines. Is one of them not available where you are, or are you from a country on some sort of exclusion list? (I'm not aware of such a list, I'm asking as I'm not aware of it)

      If someone isn't being let in because they won't get vaccinated, then it sounds like the stupidity is on the part of the person not getting an approved vaccine.

    5. Efer Guest

      Its the vaccine, entry to foreigners is not permitted if you dont have at least two doses of an approved vaccine. Im unvaccinated so call me a stupid flat-earther negationist if you want, I dont care.
      But again, your last sentence goes to the root of the problem: get vaccinated as a movement permission to not be inconvenienced instead of for health reasons.
      Case in point: at the beginning in my country only...

      Its the vaccine, entry to foreigners is not permitted if you dont have at least two doses of an approved vaccine. Im unvaccinated so call me a stupid flat-earther negationist if you want, I dont care.
      But again, your last sentence goes to the root of the problem: get vaccinated as a movement permission to not be inconvenienced instead of for health reasons.
      Case in point: at the beginning in my country only the Russian vaccine was available, tons of people got it. Then the CDC implemented its travel rule and explicity excluded the Russian vaccine. What happened? People started to get 3rd doses just because of the rule, not because it was their time of a booster. A friend a month after his second Russian dose had to get a third dose of the Janssen - again, just a month after- just to be able to travel.
      Tell me where the health reasoning is in all that? So Japan rules may sound ridiculous, but then again the US also a ridiculouos rule. So if my developing country got it right, why can't the first world do it?

    6. DC Guest

      So- you're saying you can travel if you choose to get the vaccine and follow entry rules.

      So the rules aren't the problem, you are choosing not to visit.

  82. Peter Guest

    Japan's policy is not only irrational it is also xenophobic. They have gone backwards 100 years.

    1. Hiro Diamond

      The government just hinted in last few days that from October 2022, Japan will likely to be open to all independent tourists without needing to apply for a visa for those from visa-waiver countries pre-Pandemic. Stay updated.

    2. Hiro Diamond

      Sorry, wrong thread. It used to be much more navigable before in writing comments.

  83. yep Guest

    I’d expect them to reopen by the end of the year, if not sooner, baring any new variant. They have a great culture, vibe, & tourism experience so I don’t fault them for taking their time.

    1. Fatty380 Guest

      Have you notice that many countries just learn to live with Covid by now? It seems Japan, North Korea and China is only ones left with ridiculous policy.

    2. DC Guest

      They are being very Japanese about opening. Slow, methodical, and stepwise. Their next steps (already in progress) are dropping testing requirements and loosening the degree of "supervision" on the package tours (will still need a visa, but no longer a guide the whole time)

      You might also want to notice that Japan IS "living with Covid" and life for the Japanese has been pretty normal for some time now; they just are going exceptionally slowly...

      They are being very Japanese about opening. Slow, methodical, and stepwise. Their next steps (already in progress) are dropping testing requirements and loosening the degree of "supervision" on the package tours (will still need a visa, but no longer a guide the whole time)

      You might also want to notice that Japan IS "living with Covid" and life for the Japanese has been pretty normal for some time now; they just are going exceptionally slowly on opening, which is their right. Seems like the population is enjoying being able to see their own tourist sites without being overrun.

      As for criticizing how they are managing Covid, they also had the lowest Covid impact of all the wealthy industrialized nations, as their population is obsessively rule- following and mask wearing. Without China- style lockdowns. They've gotten better results than almost everyone else in terms of deaths and severe illness.

    3. Alyssa Guest

      Sorry, but obsessive mask wearing and the general sense of paranoia that pervades everyday life in Japan negates most of what you’ve said. The measure of a country’s covid response is not just morality and morbidity, but the speed and extent with which it gets fully back to normal.

    4. DC Guest

      Well Alyssa, um... sorry but no. Nothing "negates" what I said- and certainly you've provided nothing to the contrary. Sounds like you don't know much about Japan, either.

      Lets start with Webster's definition of normal: " conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern. " Other definitions are relating to the mathematical term regarding conforming to an average.
      So if everyone in Japan wears masks and behaves the same way, that by definition...

      Well Alyssa, um... sorry but no. Nothing "negates" what I said- and certainly you've provided nothing to the contrary. Sounds like you don't know much about Japan, either.

      Lets start with Webster's definition of normal: " conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern. " Other definitions are relating to the mathematical term regarding conforming to an average.
      So if everyone in Japan wears masks and behaves the same way, that by definition is normal for Japan.

      That's probably not what you actually meant- probably what you meant is "I don't like it" and "it doesn't fit my US politics".

      It seems that you likely haven't been to Japan lately so it seems you actually have no clue what Japanese day- to day life is like. They are going to bars, shows, work, concerts, karaoke, on vacations and doing all the things Japanese people normally like to do. The only thing their aren't doing is letting gaijin in the country.

      Yes, they wear masks all the time. Like they did pre- covid. They also have a relatively high rate of vaccination.

      Doesn't sound like oppressing paranoia and obsession. Sounds like Japanese being Japanese.

      Also- please feel free to argue with the other fact I pointed out. Lowest Covid mortality of the OECD nations. By a massive amount. Didn't have the same degree of hospital strain. With less intrinsic hospital capacity.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Jim Baround Guest

If you repost something, can you add a header of what changed, or if nothing, that it is a repost from XX date?

10
Alyssa Guest

...says a person who is essentially a long-stay tourist in Japan, lol

6
Brian Guest

I went to Japan for the Olympics to work last summer for 3 weeks. I guess I was technically in Japan but for 14 days I could only go from my hotel to the venues I was assigned and a 7/11 next door. No exceptions. Tracking software installed on phone at Narita. I was fully vaxxed and being tested every other day. At the time the vax rate in Japan was less than 30%. People there treated me as if I was radiating Covid every step. As I went through Tokyo in my sealed van every day, I would see the above ground subways PACKED with people while the city was allegedly in a state of emergency. Every day the Covid cases spiked with Omicron. After 14 days when I was allowed to leave hotel and go to restaurants I didn’t because in a week I had to go home and pass test to get back to US. And it was me who did not trust them from getting me sick. Their common sense was completely gone. Their distrust of foreigners was the theme of the trip. Even though it was largely us who should’ve feared them. None of this surprises me

6
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