Visa-free Japan trips for Pinoys soon?

·Kim Arveen Patria
Visa-free Japan trips for Pinoys soon?

Filipinos who wish to travel to Japan might no longer have to apply for tourist visas under the country’s new tourism plan, a leading Japanese news agency reported.

Quoting government sources, Kyodo on Monday said arrangements are being made “to waive visas for tourists from Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.”

The move is one of the initiatives to boost tourist arrivals, and will likely be part of a revised action plan the Japanese government will release in June.

“The initiative…  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,” Kyodo said.

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.

Under the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, Japan has began easing visa policies to encourage visitors from neighboring countries.

In June last year, Japan sent social media abuzz when it allowed multiple-entry visas for citizens from Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines.

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.

Holders of multiple-entry visas may stay in Japan for 15 days. Their visas will meanwhile expire after three years. A similar easing of visa policies applied to citizens of Vietnam.

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