Visa-free Japan trips for Pinoys may start this June


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 Philippine Ambassador to Japan on Wednesday said that Filipinos may travel to the land of the rising sun without any need for a visa by June.

“We are just awaiting the official advice, but from reliable sources and from the newspaper accounts that have come out already, it seems that its likely going to happen sometime in June of this year,” said Ambassador Manolo Lopez.

Lopez said the ease in visa requirement is part of Japan’s plan to boost its economy.

“Since the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came into power in December 2012, the economy of japan have started to inch up and they would like to sustain this momentum by inviting more tourism coming in to Japan and they realized that in Southeast Asia that there is a lot of wealth in these countries,” he said in an interview with ANC.

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.

“Japan is targeting 20 million tourists by 2020 and they only breached the 10 million mark recently and so they will liberalize more and more the entry to Japan from other countries,” he said.

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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