Japan is set to ope...
 
Notifications
Clear all

Japan is set to open its doors in June, but some locals aren't happy about it

9 Posts
4 Users
0 Likes
110 Views
Savieno
Posts: 138
Admin
Topic starter
(@admin)
Reputable Member
Joined: 5 years ago
B48039A3 4C9B 4171 A3BE 6A5532A8614E

Source:cnbc

As countries across Asia reopen to international travelers, Japan — one of the continent's most popular destinations — remains firmly closed.

That may soon change. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Thursday at a news conference in London that Japan will ease border controls in June.

Locals often celebrate the easing of pandemic-related border restrictions, but some in Japan say they are fine keeping the measures in place.

Even before the pandemic, many locals preferred to travel within the country, with domestic tourism totaling $21.9 trillion yen ($167 billion) in 2019, according to government-backed Japan Tourism Agency.

Although Japanese people are currently allowed to travel abroad, many "don't want to go overseas" and choose to "travel inside the country" instead, said Dai Miyamoto, the founder of travel agency Japan Localized.

Izumi Mikami, senior executive director at Japan Space Systems, visited Kyushu Island and Okinawa Island, two tourist hot spots before the pandemic. He said he felt safer with fewer tourists around.

Some people are taking the opportunity to be outdoors after spending much time at home.

Shogo Morishige, a university student, took multiple ski trips to the Nagano — the prefecture that hosted the 1998 Winter Olympic Games — and said it was "surprisingly crowded" with locals.

"Everyone similar to us had not traveled for a long time ... Right now, it's almost as if [Covid-19] isn't really here," said Morishige. "I don't think anyone's too scared of it anymore."

Others ventured to new destinations.

"After moving to Yamagata prefecture, I started going to places I would not normally go, such as ski resorts ... hot springs in the mountains and aquariums and sandy beaches," said Shion Ichikawa, a risk management employee at internet firm, Line.
Tours are changing
International travelers to Japan fell from nearly 32 million in 2019 to just 250,000 in 2021, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

With a clientele of nearly all locals, some tour companies redesigned their tours to conform to local interests.

Japanese travelers steered away from visiting big cities and are opting for outdoor experiences that they can "discover by foot," said Miyamoto. So Japan Localized — which catered its tours to English-speaking foreigners before the pandemic — collaborated with local tour company Mai Mai Kyoto and Mai Mai Tokyo to provide walking tours in Japanese.

People across Japan are also spending time at camping sites and onsen — or hot spring — spas, said Lee Xian Jie, chief developer at tour company Craft Tabby.

"Campsites have become very popular," he said. "Caravan rentals and outdoor gear sales have been doing very well because people are going outdoors a lot more."

Luxury onsens popular with younger people "are doing quite well," but traditional onsens are suffering as the elderly are "quite scared of Covid" and do not go out much, Lee said.

Craft Tabby used to operate walking and cycling tours in Kyoto, but transitioned online when the pandemic hit. As countries reopen their borders, "online tours have not been doing well" and participation has "dropped to almost zero," Lee said.

Tourists' appetites are changing and people are looking for "niche" activities in "rural areas where it isn't so densely populated," he said.

Lee now lives south of Kyoto in a village called Ryujinmura and is planning to operate tours in the rural town once tourists are back.

"We need to think of tours and activities up here where people can explore new stuff," he added.
'Over-tourism'
Japan welcomed nearly 32 million international visitors in 2019 — up from just 6.8 million just ten years prior, according to Japan Tourism Agency.

The rapid increase in tourists caused major draws, such as the culturally rich city of Kyoto, to struggle with over-tourism.

Residents in Kyoto are now saying that "silence is back," said Miyamoto, who recounted instances where foreign tourists spoke loudly and were discourteous to locals.

Similarly, Lee said that "a lot of people who were quite upset about over-tourism in Kyoto" are now saying "it feels like how Kyoto was 20 years ago — the good old Kyoto."

But that may be coming to an end.
Is Japan ready to move on?
Prime Minister Kishida's announcement may not be welcome news for portions of the Japanese population.

More than 65% of respondents in a recent survey conducted by the Japanese broadcasting station NHK said they agreed with the border measures or believed they should be strengthened, according to The New York Times.

Local reports indicate international travelers may need multiple Covid-19 tests and a packaged tour booking to enter, though JNTO told CNBC that they have yet to receive word on this. Still, this may not be enough to pacify some residents.

Foreign visitor spending contributes less than 5% to Japan's overall gross domestic product, so "it is not necessarily surprising for the government to make decisions prioritizing" other industries, said Shintaro Okuno, partner and chairman of Bain & Company Japan, referring to why the country had stayed closed.
 

The recent decision is likely to be most unpopular with Japan's elderly citizens, said Ichikawa. Nearly 1 in 3 are over 65 years old, making Japan home to the largest percentage of elderly people in the world, according to the research organization PRB.

"The elderly tend to be more prejudiced than younger people that Covid-19 is brought in by foreigners," said Ichikawa. "It is understandable that in Japan — a country of elderly people — politicians must tighten the borders to protect them physically and psychologically."

When the pandemic was at its peak, Japanese were even wary of people from other parts of Japan visiting their hometowns.

"I saw signboards at public parks and tourist attractions saying 'no cars from outside Wakayama,'" said Lee. "People were quite fearful of others from outside the prefecture."

However, residents living in cities may feel differently.

"Japan is too strict and conservative" in controlling Covid-19, said Mikami, who is based in Tokyo.

Miyako Komai, a teacher who lives Tokyo, said she is ready to move on.

"We need to invite more foreign people" so Japan's economy can recover, she said. "I don't agree that we want measures to be strengthened ... We need to start living a normal life."

8 Replies
Bobby69
Posts: 46
Admin Registered
(@bobby69)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 1 year ago

It’s time for things to go back to the norm.

Reply
1172a5433ca13210b2803b0a3009dc7a?s=80&d=wavatar&r=g
Posts: 3
 Mike S
(@Mike S)
New Member
Joined: 3 months ago

No where does it state that the border is going to open in june, they said they are considering easing entry limits. Your speculating on a government that announces things that go into effect at a minimum five months later. 

Reply
5 Replies
8f4b456da942888d907eafd77ec1df2b?s=80&d=wavatar&r=g
 Paul
(@Paul)
Joined: 3 months ago

New Member
Posts: 3

So easing border limits in June to let few people  in is the same thing as reopening because before they wasn’t  letting no one in, so know they going to start letting a few people in so that definitely sounds like reopening to me.

Reply
1172a5433ca13210b2803b0a3009dc7a?s=80&d=wavatar&r=g
 Mike S
(@Mike S)
Joined: 3 months ago

New Member
Posts: 3

they are not letting in tourists, just business people, work visas, and students. Its not even close to reopening. 

Reply
SaraLove
(@saralove)
Joined: 8 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 23

Hi 👋 Mike, seems like you are trying to get in, are you a student? 
I’m surprised they are taking this long to reopen for every one to travel there, covid is not even a big deal anymore. 

I saw this article and it’s says it’s opening for Tourist, student and business visas in June  https://www.timeout.com/news/japan-plans-to-reopen-to-tourism-in-june-051022

 

Reply
1172a5433ca13210b2803b0a3009dc7a?s=80&d=wavatar&r=g
 Mike S
(@Mike S)
Joined: 3 months ago

New Member
Posts: 3

@saralove again nowhere does it say in that article it is opening for tourists in june. Kishida did not say they would reopen, he said they would ease the entry limit for people with specific non tourist visa. I get being optimistic but unless he says those worlds himself which are never quoted in these articles i would not get my hopes up. Fall is more likely a time when tourists will be allowed in. It seems a lot of people dont really understand how the japanese government operates.

You guys need to find better sources these articles suck. No I am not a student I have a work visa.

Reply
SaraLove
(@saralove)
Joined: 8 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 23

I understand how annoying this maybe. I know you  probably want to  get Back to work, sorry that you have been going thru all these delays. 

Sometimes we all got be optimistic and hope for the best.

Hopefully it will resume in Fall for you. 

Reply




8f4b456da942888d907eafd77ec1df2b?s=80&d=wavatar&r=g
Posts: 3
 Paul
(@Paul)
New Member
Joined: 3 months ago

Why the locals not happy tho?

I thought they would be happy that tourism is resuming back so it can help economic 

Reply

Leave a reply

Author Name

Author Email

Title *

 
Preview 0 Revisions Saved