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Japan hopes that Russia will continue to ease visa regime for Japanese tourists

On January 1, 2017, Japan’s authorities eased the regime of issuing visas to Russian citizens

TOKYO, May 14. /TASS/. The Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) hopes that Russia will continue to ease visa requirements for Japanese tourists for a stable development of tourism between the two countries, JATA Vice-Chairman Jungo Kikuma said on Tuesday at the signing of the agreement on cooperation between the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and the Russian Union of Tourism Industry.

"We will implement the corresponding plan for different Russian regions to reach the set goals by 2023 (the increase of the mutual tourism flow between Russia and Japan to 400,000 people - TASS). So, this past April a trip of Japanese tourist companies to Sakhalin was carried out in cooperation with the Japan Tourism Agency, during which we met with representatives for local authorities and tourism representatives. Specific tourism products will be created for each of the regions - for the European part of Russia, Siberia and other regions," he said.

"Our association would like to ask the Russian side to provide assistance for further easing of the visa regime for tourist groups, so that we could implement the set goals," Kikuma added. He hopes that the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will help develop tourism between Russia and Japan, the way it happened during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

On January 1, 2017, Japan’s authorities eased the regime of issuing visas to Russian citizens in compliance with the agreement dedicated to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan in December 2016. As a result, the number of tourists from Russia who visited Japan increased by 40.8% in 2017 when compared to 2016 and stood at more than 77,000 people. The number of Japanese tourists in Russia exceeded 100,000 in the same time frame.

On October 1 last year the Japanese side also introduced a new easy visa regime for Russian tourists who visit the country within organized groups under package tours. In 2018, the number of Russian tourists who entered Japan grew by 22.7% and stood at 94,800, while 120,000 Japanese citizens visited Russia in the same time frame. After a meeting with Putin in January, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that Japan and Russia intend to double the joint tourism flow by 2023, up to 400,000 people.