Next month, Japan is eliminating its COVID-19 restrictions and welcoming back the world, according to a tweet last week from Taro Kono, Japan's minister of digital affairs.
“Finally, Japan will reopen the border. Visa waiver is back, no daily limit and free individual visits,” tweeted Minister Kono last Thursday (Sept. 22).
The minister was referring to Japan relaxing its entry rules by lifting the ceiling of the number of entrants, its ban on individual travel and ban on visa-less travel.
In August, Japan took small steps to reopen its hard-hit tourism industry by ending its requirement for vaccinated travellers to have a COVID-19 test.
However, at the same time, it introduced other rules, such as daily entry caps and a requirement for visitors to join tour groups.
Japan’s new policies are set to take effect on October 11, according to reports.
Last week, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke at a news conference in New York City, where he was attending the UN General Assembly meeting.
On lifting Japan’s restrictions, Kishida said that "on the same day, we plan to launch a campaign to offer domestic travel discounts and event discounts to residents of Japan and hope that many citizens will take advantage of the offer to support the hotel, travel and entertainment sectors that have suffered enormous blows during the pandemic."
The update marks a major shift after nearly two and a half years of strict border rules out of Japan on who could enter the East Asia country and under what circumstances.