he Japanese government is preparing to extend visa exemptions to Indonesian, Filipino, and Vietnamese tourists in an effort to boost arrivals, Japan’s Kyodo News reported on Tuesday.
The plan, which is due out this June, is part of Japan’s effort to attract 20 million foreign tourists annually, the news report said.
It quoted observers as saying that with a visa waiver, Japan can expect an increased flow of tourists from the three Southeast Asian countries, whose robust economic growth has fueled demand for foreign travel.
Around 140,000 Indonesians, 110,000 Filipinos and 80,000 Vietnamese visited Japan last year, numbers that many considered high considering Japan’s visa requirements, according to the report.
Between 0.09 and 0.34 percent of the short-term visitors from the three countries overstayed their visas, a relatively low figure, it said.
Japan 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 tourist target (10 million) for the first time last year.
Japan now waives visas for short-term visitors who come for the purposes of sightseeing or visiting their relatives from South Korea, Taiwan and 64 other countries and regions.