TOKYO: Japan will introduce an electronic tourist visa application system in April 2020, with visa data to be shared with airlines.
In a report quoting government sources on Sunday (Oct 14), the Japan Times said the initiative was aimed at helping Japan achieve its goal of 60 million foreign visitors a year by 2030.
The online system will first be available to Chinese tourists for single-entry visa applications. Citing Japan’s Foreign Ministry, the report said tourist visas for Chinese visitors accounted for nearly 60 per cent of all the visas issued in 2017.
The electronic system is also intended to simplify the visa application process, reduce workload at diplomatic missions and tighten immigration control ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The government also reportedly plans to add other types of visas to the new system.
Singapore citizens are issued a 90-day temporary visitor visa upon arrival in Japan. No separate or prior applications are necessary.
Visitors from Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea and the United States are also granted visas upon arrival.
Japan has been ramping up efforts to boost tourism and tourism revenue.
From January next year, travellers leaving Japan will have to pay a departure tax of ¥1,000 (US$9.40). Dubbed the “sayonara tax”, the levy is expected to raise about ¥43 billion a year.