China resumes visa issuance for Japanese citizens

The reason for the sudden decision is not clear, but it comes more than a week after the Japanese embassy in Beijing announced that the Chinese visa service had been cut because of the Covid-19 pandemic. back to normal.

China will also allow the resumption of group tours to 20 countries from February 6, but Japan is not among the approved destinations.

Beijing on October 1 suspended visa issuance to citizens of several countries, including Japan and South Korea, in retaliation for Covid-19 control measures against visitors from China.

Not long after, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said the suspension was necessary to protest “discriminatory entry restrictions” against Chinese nationals.

In the face of China’s rise in Covid-19 cases, Japan last month tightened regulations for visitors coming directly from China, requiring them to have a negative PCR result done by 72 hours at the latest. hours prior to departure and must have a negative test result at the destination.

On January 19, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called on countries to lift “discriminatory restrictions” on Chinese tourists as soon as possible, and work with Beijing to restore operations. normal movement across the border.

In 2019, before the pandemic, about 9.59 million tourists from mainland China visited Japan, accounting for about 30% of total arrivals, according to government data. Their total spending is about 13.6 billion USD, accounting for 36.8% of total visitor spending.

On January 27, South Korea extended short-term visa restrictions for tourists from mainland China until the end of February, citing concerns about the risk of a resurgence of the pandemic following mass gatherings. crowds and cross-country travel during the Lunar New Year holiday.

The US has also imposed new restrictions on travelers from China, requiring them to test negative for Covid-19 before entering.

Mainland China recorded 6,364 Covid-19 deaths in hospitals between January 20 and 26, according to the latest figures released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death toll has almost halved from the previous week.

Vu Hoang (Theo SCMP)

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