Tuesday, February 27

Japan to further ease border curbs to exploit weak yen

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TOKYO — Japan will further ease border controls from Sept. 7 by raising the ceiling for daily entrants to 50,000 and freeing up entry for travelers from all countries on package tours without the need for guides, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters after returning to work from a COVID-19 infection, Kishida said Japan will proceed with further easing steps, taking into account virus infections in and outside of the country, travelers’ demand and border controls adopted by other countries.

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“From the standpoint of making use of merits from the weak yen, we’ll ease border controls further,” Kishida told reporters.

Japan’s yen has been trading at its lowest in more than 20 years against the US dollar and other major currencies, a potential boom for Japanese businesses exposed to international tourism.

Japan began a phased reopening to tourists in June after a more than two-year ban. But visitor arrivals had been limited to 20,000 per day and had to be part of packaged tours accompanied by guides at all times to ensure compliance with infection controls.

Kishida has pledged to bring Japan’s border measures, among the strictest in the world during the pandemic, more in line with other wealthy democracies. (Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)