Vietnamese and Philippine tourists will soon be able to enjoy substantial relaxations of visa requirements when traveling to Japan, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Tuesday.
The multiple-entry visa requirements for Vietnamese and Philippine nationals will be greatly relaxed, while requirements for their single-entry tourist visas will be eased to a level that is almost equivalent to exemption, the ministry said in a statement.
The relaxation of single-entry tourist visa requirements is only effective when visitors apply for the Japanese visa “via specified travel agencies,” the ministry noted without any elaboration on what these travel arrangers are.
It added that these measures “will also be applicable for nationals of Indonesia in addition to the above.”
Indonesian e-passport holders, meanwhile, will have visas exempted based on prior registration at the Embassy or Consulates General of Japan in Indonesia, the ministry said.
However, the beginning date of application, as well as other details of the measures, is currently under consideration.
The visa requirement relaxation decision followed a meeting of the Ministerial Council on the Promotion of Japan as a Tourism-Oriented Country on Tuesday, after which the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs “decided to endeavor to realize the exemption of visa requirements as promptly as possible.”
The substantial relaxations of visa requirements for nationals of Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam will be implemented as an initial step of the plan for a complete visa exemption, according to the ministry.
“The objectives of these measures are to promote Japan as a tourism-oriented country with the even higher goal of attracting 20 million foreign visitors, to contribute to growth strategies as well as the promotion of people-to-people exchanges,” it said.
Last year the Japanese government also started carrying out a relaxed visa program for Vietnamese nationals and visitors from other Southeast Asian countries.
Starting July 1, 2013, the Japanese government has issued multiple-entry visas for short-term stays to Vietnamese nationals (ordinary passport holders) who reside in their home country.
Recipients of the incentive are Vietnamese nationals who have fulfilled certain conditions and who have an ordinary machine-readable passport (MRP) meeting International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
The allowed period of stay is 15 days while the multiple-entry visa has a term of validity of up to three years.
This means Vietnamese travelers are allowed to visit Japan several times within a period of three years, with the maximum stay per visit no longer than 15 days.