China has urged Japan to permit visa-free entry so citizens of both countries can travel to each other’s territories under facilitated travel rules.
According to Bloomberg, the request was addressed by the Chinese Commerce Minister, Wang Wentao, to a group of visiting Japanese businesspeople this week, VisaGuide.World reports.
During a meeting held between retired Japanese lawmaker Yohei Kono, as well as Japanese executives and the Chinese Commerce Minister, some business people from Japan complained about the difficulty of getting visas in order to travel to China.
In response to such comments, Wang stressed that China previously proposed to Japan a mutual visa exemption system, suggesting to executives they lobby Japan on the matter.
In January this year, authorities in China suspended the short-term visa issuance for nationals from Japan and South Korea in retaliation against the COVID-related restrictions imposed on travelers from China, following a surge in the number of Coronavirus infections.
However, authorities in Beijing considered such measures discriminatory and not based on science.
“Chinese embassies and consulates in Korea will suspend the issuance of short-term visas for Korean citizens,” Beijing’s embassy in Seoul noted, emphasizing that the measures would be “adjusted again in line with South Korea’s removal of the discriminatory entry restrictions on China”.
Authorities in China also requested a mutual visa exemption arrangement with Singapore.
Chinese authorities are hampering details with Singapore related to the bilateral visa-free agreement, based on Beijing’s embassy, a move that could boost the number of arrivals in this territory from what was considered the largest tourism market before the spread of COVID-19 and its new variants.
According to a previous report from Reuters, a total of 3.6 million travelers from China visited Singapore in 2019, more than any other state, who spent a total of $3.09 billion.
In spite of the fact that it is still unknown if authorities in Japan will approve such a request, the country is already attempting to find new ways in order to help the tourism sector recover faster from the damages caused by the COVI-related restrictions.
The figures of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) revealed that the number of international visitors for business as well as leisure increased to 1.95 in April compared to 1.82 registered in March.
However, arrivals were still down by a total of 33 percent compared to the figures of April 2019 before the restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 situation. JNTO’s statistics revealed that a record 9.5 million passengers from China landed in Japan in 2019, a third of all visitors.