Japan eases visa rules for Chinese tourists to encourage return visitors
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Japan eases visa rules for Chinese tourists to encourage return visitors

TO boost repeat arrivals, Japan’s Foreign Ministry has announced that it will relax visa rules for Chinese visitors starting October 17.

Under the new rules, multi-entry visas for short-term stays with business purposes, or by cultural figures and intellectuals will go up to 10 years, a bump up from the current five-year allowance.

Plus, Chinese graduate students and alumni of state-run universities can now submit a certificate of student status or graduation to apply for single-entry visa instead of a document of their financial status.

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The deregulation is intended to advance people-to-people exchange with China, enhance convenience in business activities, and increase the number of repeat and young visitors in Japan.

The ministry also plans to open up the market for bilingual tour guides to offer services in English. As most of them are based in city centers, plans are underway to disperse their services to Japan’s countryside as well.

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On top of that, the ministry plans to team up with railway company East Japan Railway and other major railway operators to introduce alphanumeric codes at each station so that tourists can easily recognize their stations.

Japan will also begin a trial cashless payment service using biometric technology for foreign tourists.

Starting October 1, the service will be implemented at popular tourist spots in the Kanto area around Tokyo, the Kansai region in the west, and Kyushu in the southwest.

The government aims to increase the number of international visitors leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

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The Financial Times reported that the cheap yen is making Japan – specifically the Ginza district – a magnet for luxury Chinese travelers.

According to data from Euromonitor International, the value of the Japanese luxury market jumped by almost 25 percent between 2010 and 2015.

Based on data from the Japan Tourism Agency, the estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan in August rose 12.8 percent from a year earlier to 2.04 million, a record high for the month of August.

At some 677,000, China makes up the biggest market of visitors in Japan followed by South Korea and Taiwan.

This article originally appeared on Travel Wire Asia.

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