(UPDATE) No, Japan isn't lifting its visa requirements for Filipinos.
However, Pinoys may now apply for multiple-entry visas as Japan eases visa guidelines for some Southeast Asian countries.
“The Embassy of Japan in the Philippines would like to clarify to the public that Japan has not lifted the visa exemption for the Philippines contrary to the recent reports,” a statement on Thursday said.
Japan will allow multiple entry visas to applying Filipinos come July 1, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in its website.
Multiple-entry Japanese visas have previously been issued only to those traveling for commercial purposes; specialists and government officials; and immediate family members of Japan residents.
Japan is known for being strict in terms of requirements for visas and in screening tourists. Applicants have to submit documents to prove their eligibility for multiple-entry visas. As of Thursday, the Japanese embassy has yet to release the list of requirements under the new visa policy.
“Japan will continue to accept and deliver Visa applications for Japan through accredited agencies,” the embassy said.
“The further development of Japan-Philippines exchange is expected as a result of the issuance of multiple entry visas,” MOFA said in its website.
This includes an increase in both the number of Filipino tourists visiting Japan and ease of business transactions between the two countries.
Holders of multiple-entry visas may stay in Japan for 15 days. Their visas will meanwhile expire after three years.
The new policy is part of Japan’s effort to boost tourism, business and relations with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
A similar easing of visa policies will also be applied for citizens of Vietnam. In Thailand and Malaysia, Japan will altogether lift visa requirements.
It is also in “celebration of the 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation,” Japan’s Foreign Ministry added.