As part of its efforts to boost tourism ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Japan is seeking to relax visa requirements for countries like Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos by the end of the year. This is also part of the government’s goal of strengthening the country’s growth strategy.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to make the announcement soon, together with his decision to push through with the consumption tax increase of 8% that is slated for April 2014. This will be part of the three arrows of his “Abenomics”, or economic growth policies, with the other two being drastic monetary easing and massive fiscal spending. The administration plans to submit eight bills at the extraordinary parliamentary session that will start on October 15. These bills, which will include tax cuts to ease the burden of the impending tax increase, aims to bolster capital spending which will spur further economic growth.
Easing of the visa rules is expected to bring an influx of more foreign visitors to the country. They are considering allowing “multiple visa entries for visitors from the three Southeast Asian countries, after deciding earlier this year to give a visa exemption for Thailand and Malaysia short-stay tourists that will visit Japan. As Tokyo prepares to host the Summer Olympics in 2020, the tourism industry needs to be infused with visitors and business opportunities, as it will play an important role before and during the world’s biggest sporting event.