Kishida, who made the long-awaited announcement during his visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, said: “We are a nation that has flourished through the free flow of people, goods and capital. Covid-19, of course, interrupted all of these benefits, but from October 11, Japan will relax border control measures to be on par with the US, as well as resume visa-free travel and individual travel.”
Under the new rules, the cap on daily arrivals, currently set at 50,000 per day, will be scrapped. Similarly, the requirement for international travellers to be part of a planned package tour will also be lifted.
Short-term visitors from countries with visa-free travel agreements with Japan will also no longer be required to apply for a tourist visa. Pre-pandemic, Japan allowed visa-free, short-term travel from 68 countries and regions, including the European Union (EU), Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and US.
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara had previously confirmed that the government was reviewing its Covid border rules earlier this month.
Japan previously had some of the world’s strictest border measures following the start of the pandemic, with international visitors blocked from entry for over two years until the start of its gradual reopening in June 2022.