The Japanese government has decided to issue multiple-entry visas to individual Chinese tourists, with an aim to encourage visitors with high purchasing power from China to stream into the country.
Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and Japan Tourism Agency chief Hiroshi Mizohata have already started talks to introduce the system so that Japan can take in more money from tourists, a Japanese report said.
According to China daily, major Japanese media outlets have named improving ties with China the top task for Japan’s cabinet in 2011 in their special New Year coverage. The Kyodo News Agency said it is a diplomatic priority for Japan to improve the deteriorated Sino-Japanese relations since a maritime collision in waters around China’s Diaoyu Islands in September made the bilateral ties suffer a nosedive.
Also, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan was considering visiting China in the spring to improve strained bilateral ties, according to the Japanese media.
In order to attract 25 million foreign tourists annually by 2020 under its new economic growth strategy, Kan hopes to build more policies favoring foreign tourists into Japan this year.
Statistics show that a record number of 390,000 visas were issued to Chinese tourists in 2009 and the number keeps growing by the day according to the report.
Chinese tourists who travel often to Japan will find the hassles of transit less stressful with the launch of a program to enable multiple-entry visas for individuals later this year.
The report said that the new idea is to encourage repeat visitors from China, especially among middle-income populations. In July 2010, Japan lowered the income threshold for individual Chinese visitors with annual incomes of RMB 250,000 (¥3.1 million) to RMB 60,000. In 2010, 390,000 Chinese tourists visited Japan, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Many obtained visas at one of seven Japanese diplomatic missions in China
Sino-Japanese relations are of interest to the entire East Asian region due to the fact that Japan and China are the most influential – politically, militarily, and economically in the region, as well as in a greater global perspective since they are among the top five economies in the world.
Economically, relations between the two countries heavily affect cooperation and prosperity in the region. Moreover, Sino-Japanese relations are key to Northeast Asia regional security and need to be considered when looking at the larger picture of security in Asia.
It is a good step towards friendship and harmony. Sino-Japanese relations could facilitate increased cooperation, between both countries. In this respect, conflict prevention and conflict management in relations between China and Japan are not only in the interest of the region but also in that of the international community.