Japan for much of the pandemic has required international arrivals to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Japan for much of the pandemic has required international arrivals to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test. (Akifumi Ishikawa/Stars and Stripes)

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Japan has officially relaxed its coronavirus travel restrictions, but international travelers must still apply for visitor visas that limit what they can do while in the country.

According to, government officials revealed that limits on inbound travelers were lifted from 20,000 per day to 50,000, and pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements were scrapped for tourists and returning residents.

Japan announced that while some restrictions would be eased, tourism officials said the travel industry would not recover as quickly as hoped "as long as visitors are still required to get visas to enter the country," Japan Airlines executive Koji Masumura told Reuters.

"Although the number has been raised to 50,000 people this time, my personal guess is that it will not reach this level without the participation of overseas individual travelers," Masumura continued.

To enter Japan, international travelers must register with licensed travel agencies before applying for a visa at embassies and consulates, a process that can reportedly "take months," according to Reuters.

The return of travelers comes as the yen has reached its weakest worth in 24 years, but officials are concerned that tourists won't be able to take advantage of the affordable vacation if they have trouble getting a travel visa.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reopened the country to tourists in June for the first time in two years, but only around 8,000 people have arrived through July. The country averaged more than 80,000 visitors per day before the pandemic.

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