YUICHI YAMAZAKI/AFP via Getty Images
Japan is lifting a major COVID-19 travel restriction next month.
On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that independent travelers will be welcomed back to Japan on Oct. 11, The Japan Times reported. The daily cap on the number of arriving visitors will be lifted that day, too.
Travelers from around the world will be able to enter Japan with proof of triple vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result. Travelers from eligible nations, including the United States, will be able to enter the country without a visa for short-term travel.
Currently visitors are only allowed to visit via state-recognized travel agencies.
Kishida made the announcement at a news conference in New York while at the United Nations General Assembly.
Japan's first travel restrictions went into effect on Jan. 31, 2020, when the entrance of foreign nationals from China's Hubei province was banned. By the end of August 2020, the country had expanded the entry ban to 159 destinations.
The country also capped the number of visitors entering the country each day, starting with just 5,000 visitors on March of this year and increased their limit to 50,000 visitors last month.
In 2019, Japan had a record 31.88 million international visitors — a number that dropped to just 250,000 in 2021 with the travel restrictions, The Japan Times noted.
"I would like to support the lodging, travel, and entertainment industries that have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic," Kishida said at the conference.
While many international travelers will likely want to take advantage of the cheap yen, the Wall Street Journal reported that nearly one in three foreign visitors to Japan are from China, which is still barring international travel for its citizens.
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