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Japan easing travel restrictions, welcoming independent tourists back

Dancers perform during a preview of the Asakusa Yokocho alley on June 29, 2022 in Tokyo. The newly-built restaurant gathering facility opened in one of Tokyo's most famous tourist spots after Japan reopened its borders to tourist groups.

Japan is swinging open its doors to tourists.

The country first cracked the door open to authorized tour groups in June. However, tourist numbers were capped, and travelers had to meet special visa requirements to enter.

Starting Oct. 11, independent tourists will be welcome back in Japan, and caps and pandemic-related visa requirements will be lifted.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the country’s wider reopening Thursday during a press conference around the United Nations General Assembly gathering in New York. 

“Free and active exchange of people is the foundation of economy and society, as well as that of Asia’s development,” the prime minister said in May.

Japan’s tourism industry has been devastated by tight border controls over the past two years. 

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