|Prior to the pandemic, Japan had been keen to boost tourism as a key pillar for economic growth, with a goal in 2020 to attract 40 million foreign visitors. Travelers gather in the international arrivals lobby at Narita airport near Tokyo on April 7, 2022. (File photo by=Kyodo)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] TOKYO: Japanese business circles, particularly those in the tourism sector, are unsettled by what appears to be an overly cautious government policy toward resuming tourism from abroad as the Asian country's economy struggles to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Kyodo reported.
Japan is set to further ease COVID-19 border controls by doubling the cap on overseas arrivals to 20,000 people per day starting in June, following Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's remarks earlier this month that the country will relax restrictions on par with other Group of Seven countries. But such international arrivals do not include tourists, and the government has not yet indicated when Japan will start accepting tourists from overseas. As a result, Japan is now the only G-7 country rejecting foreign tourists due to the pandemic. According to the Japan Association of Travel Agents, "a very limited number of countries like Japan and China" don't accept foreign tourists.
Masakazu Tokura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, told a press conference on May 9, "Many Japanese traveled abroad for sightseeing and leisure during the Golden Week holidays. On the other hand, Japan is still not allowing foreigners to enter Japan for tourism." While business leaders are often critical of the government over its strict COVID-19 policy, fearing such measures jeopardize economic growth, the general public of the rapidly graying country seems to support it.