Japan gets 120,400 foreign visitors in June, but only 252 tourists – Nationwide
The number of foreign visitors to Japan in June exceeded 100,000 for the third consecutive month following the easing of border control measures, preliminary government data showed. Arrivals in the month of 120,400 were more than 10 times those of June 2021, but still down 95.8 percent from the same month in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.
Japan opened its doors to small-scale tours in June, but only 252 tourists entered the country in the month, it said. A further 14,580 have applied to enter the country in July or later, according to the JNTO. Last month Japan increased its overseas arrival cap to 20,000 per day and reopened five regional airports to international arrivals, in addition to major hubs such as Narita, Haneda and Kansai, which had already been accepting flights from abroad.
In June, the largest number of arrivals came from Vietnam at 22,900, followed by China at 14,700, South Korea at 11,200 and the United States at 9,700, the data showed. Most arrivals are likely to have come as technical interns, businesspeople, or international students. As the government of China has instructed its citizens to refrain from unnecessary travel, it has been virtually impossible for Chinese tourists to come to Japan, the JNTO said.
The Japanese government has divided countries and regions into three groups, with travellers in the lowest-risk “blue” group permitted to enter Japan on guided tours and are exempt from quarantine and testing upon arrival if they show proof of a negative pre-departure test result. The number of Japanese citizens going overseas in June was about 5.6 times higher than a year earlier at 171,500 but was down 88.7 percent from June 2019.
Despite the country’s COVID-19 cases hitting a record of over 150,000 on Wednesday due to the spread of the BA.5 Omicron subvariant, the Japanese government is not considering restricting people’s movement.
Tokyo falls to 9th most expensive city for expats due to weak yen – Tokyo Prefecture
Tokyo has tumbled to the ninth-most expensive city for people working abroad in 2022 from third a year earlier, partly due to the weakening of the yen against the U.S. dollar and other major currencies, according to an annual cost of living survey by a U.S. consulting firm. The Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey comes as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, now in its third year, the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, varying exchange rates, and surging prices put a squeeze on pay and savings across the world.
Hong Kong topped the list of the priciest cities in the world, a return to pole position after ceding it to Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat in 2021. Hong Kong was previously named the most expensive city for three consecutive years to 2020. Asian cities occupied four of the top 10, with Singapore, Tokyo and Beijing accounting for places eight through 10.
In a separate Asian top 10 ranking, Chinese cities filled six spots, a development Mercer put down to the Chinese yuan’s strength making the country’s mainland more expensive to live in. Conversely, a relative affordability rise in Japanese and Korean cities was attributed to the effects of their weaker currencies. Tracey Ma, Mercer’s regional mobility leader for the Asia Pacific, said high prices and strong currencies elsewhere in the region “continue to propel Asia as one of the most expensive regions for international employees.”
Japan warns of swiftly rising COVID cases; Tokyo raises alert to highest level – Tokyo Prefecture
Japan warned that a new wave of coronavirus cases appears to be rapidly spreading through the nation, calling on people to be especially careful ahead of an upcoming long weekend and imminent summer school vacations. Tokyo raised its COVID alert level to its highest tier, Fuji News Network reported.
Japan has recently seen new COVID-19 cases surge to levels not seen since early this year, with Tokyo recording 16,878 new cases on Wednesday, the highest since February, while national cases rose above 90,000. The surge is due to the highly-transmissible BA.5 Omicron subvariant, health officials said.
“We had a total 94,466 new cases reported nationwide yesterday, and newly-infected patients have increased by 2.14-fold compared to the last week, and we are seeing a rapid expansion,” chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a news conference. But he said hospital bed usage remained low, as did the number of serious cases and deaths.
Separately, land and transport minister Tetsuo Saito, whose portfolio also includes tourism, said this is not the time to start a system of support and subsidies for domestic travel. Japan in late 2020 launched a travel promotion program but later abandoned it amid criticism that it had helped spread the coronavirus more widely. A similar scheme had been widely expected to start sometime later this year.