Japan reopens its borders. Are tourists ready to return?

Episode 132,  Oct 19, 2022, 08:30 AM

Not since 1853, when U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry forced Japan to open its borders to trade, has a reopening been so newsworthy. This time, instead of Black Ships, the country faced a trickle of tourists looking to hit up Kyoto and indulge in their pop culture obsessions. 

Ahead of the reopening on Oct. 11, the Japanese people asked themselves what to do if the new arrivals didn’t wear masks, would this event precede a new wave of COVID-19, and will long-dormant sectors of the economy finally get a boost? Kanako Takahara joins us on this episode to explain the new guidelines for coming to Japan, and Will Fee talks about what he saw at Haneda Airport on opening day and what the legacy of the closed-border policy might be for foreign residents.

Read more:
Why Japan has been taking incremental steps to open its borders (Kanako Takahara, The Japan Times)
Confusing mix of policies sours start of domestic travel discount campaign (Kanako Takahara)
Even as Japan’s border creaks open, unmarried couples still struggle to reunite (Will Fee and Kanako Takahara, The Japan Times)
What to expect as Japan opens back up to the world (Will Fee, The Japan Times)
Japan’s eagerly anticipated reopening gets off to a slow start (Will Fee, The Japan Times)
‘Undesirable consequences’ may await Japan’s well-meaning tourists (Owen Zeigler, The Japan Times)
Japan has reopened. Instagrammers of the world, rejoice! (Spencer Cohen, The Japan Times)

On this episode: 
Kanako Takahara: Articles | Twitter 
Will Fee: Articles | Twitter
Shaun McKenna: Articles | Twitter

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Photo: Tokyo's Harajuku neighborhood saw the return of tourists from last week after a significant easing of border controls that had been in place to protect against COVID-19. | Kyodo