Single-entry tourist visa requirements for the citizens of Vietnam and the Philippines wishing to travel to Japan be reduced to a “quasi-exemption” level, when they apply through “specified” travel agencies.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan made the announcement on its website on Tuesday, saying that it is part of the country’s efforts to boost tourism to 20 million foreign visitors by 2020.
According to the ministry, multiple-entry visa requirements for the two countries’ citizens will also be relaxed “substantially.”
Vietnamese tourists in Japan. Photo: Tran Tam
Meanwhile, e-passport holders of Indonesia, will be exempted based on their prior registration at the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan in Indonesia.
The ministry has yet to determine when, precisely, the changes will take effect.
Japan first eased its visa policy for tourists from the Southeast Asia last July by granting multiple entry visas for short-term visitors from Vietnam and the Philippines, and waiving visa requirements for Thai and Malaysian travelers.
The move was said to have helped Japan achieve its annual international tourist arrivals target - 10 million tourists - for the first time last year.
Around 140,000 Indonesians, 110,000 Filipinos and 80,000 Vietnamese visited Japan last year, numbers that many considered high given Japan's visa requirements.
Between 0.09 and 0.34 percent of the short-term visitors from the three countries overstayed their visas.
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