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Japan loosens tourism visa rules for PHL, Indonesia, Vietnam

(Updated 1:56 p.m.) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has approved “substantial relaxations of visa requirements” for tourism visas issued to nationals of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam, the Japanese Embassy in Manila said Tuesday.

The policy move is just an “initial step” of the ministry's “endeavor to realize the exemption of visa requirements,” the embassy also said.

A report by Kyodo News on April 15 said the Japanese government is “making arrangements” to waive visas for tourists from the three Asian countries.

A report on Nikkei Asian Review quoted a Japanese Tourism Agency official as saying that for the Philippines and Vietnam, Japan will launch "a substantive visa exemption" by simplifying visa acquisition procedures for participants of tours offered by the travel agencies designated by the Japanese government.

Tourist visa requirements were relaxed to help achieve Japan's goal of attracting 20 million foreign visitors by 2020, when Tokyo will host the Olympics and Paralympics, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun.

“For national of the Philippines multiple-entry visa requirements will be substantially relaxed, and requirements for single-entry tourism visas will be relaxed to a quasi-exemption-equivalent level when applied via specified travel agencies,” the embassy said in its statement.
However, other details, including “the beginning date of application” are still being worked out, the embassy said.

According to The Yomiuri Shimbun, visitors from overseas surpassed the 10 million mark for the first time in 2013 due partly to the yen’s weakening.

It said Japanese officials believe that by making it easier to obtain a visa, the number of foreign tourists to Japan will double from the 2013 level by 2020.— ELR/KBK, GMA News
Tags: japan, tokyo