- Posted by Christopher Ledsham
- On 12th May 2016
- china, holiday, japan, may day, policy, politics, visa
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida revealed that the Japanese government plans to ease visa requirements for Chinese tourists during discussions with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on April 30 2016. The visit, the first between the two countries’ foreign ministers outside of multilateral summits in four and a half years, marked the beginning of the Chinese May Day holiday, which has seen a rapidly increasing number of Chinese tourists travelling to Japan in recent years.
The new policy will allow more business travellers and cultural or intellectual figures to gain visas, which would now have a maximum validity of ten years, rather than the five years currently permitted. Furthermore, graduate students and alumni of the Chinese Ministry of Education’s universities will also see the conditions required to gain single-entry visas relaxed. The date of the new policy’s introduction is still being discussed.
The announcement came amidst frank talks regarding the current status of the relationship between the two regional powers at a time when the two governments are still engaged in long-running territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The two ministers are said to have discussed issues relating to the current global financial climate, as well as potential strategies for dealing with North Korea’s nuclear programme. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang revealed a four-point plan that highlighted the importance of Japan recognising China’s continued rise as an opportunity for cooperation, rather than as a perceived threat. His Japanese counterpart expressed regret that foreign ministers of the two countries had not met in so long, adding that he “[wanted] to resume relations under which we can frequently visit each other.”
Following the improvement of bilateral relations in late 2013, Japan has witnessed exponential increase in numbers of Chinese visitors. This growth considered to be a means of strengthening economic and political ties between the two countries and the relaxation of visa policies for Chinese nationals has shown to provide a boost in visitor numbers in many destinations worldwide. Given the particularly risk-averse nature of Chinese outbound tourists, this is considered especially important in the wake of the earthquakes that struck southern Japan in April. Nepal introduced similar relaxed visa policies for Chinese nationals earlier this year to boost tourism following the Mount Everest Avalanches in April 2015.
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Photo: Business Korea