Japan to waive visas for Indonesian, Filipino and Vietnamese travelers

Tokio – The government and the ruling coalition are making arrangements to waive visas for tourists from the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam as one of the initiatives in a revised action plan due out in June to make Japan a tourism-oriented country.

The initiative, which is aimed at drawing more tourists from Southeast Asia, including the Muslim population in the region, is envisioned as Japan seeks to achieve its goal of increasing the annual number of foreign visitors to 20 million in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also looking to tourism as a pillar of its strategy to spur the country’s economic growth.

The easing of visa requirements was felt in the Philippines last year when Japan began issuing multiple-entry tourist visas. Previously, multiple entry visas were given to those visiting Japan for business, artists, specialists and government officials and immediate family members of Filipinos residing in Japan.

Southeast Asia sent in 2013 close to 1.17 million of travelers to Japan. Thailand total arrivals were up by 74%, while Malaysia and Indonesia progressed by almost 35% between 2012 and 2013. Arrivals from Southeast Asia represented last year 11.3% of all international arrivals to Japan and 14.4% of all Asian arrivals to the Japanese archipelago.  Source: PNA/Kyodo