Japan relaxes Chinese visa restrictions

Japan relaxes Chinese visa restrictions

Japan has confirmed it will further relax the application criteria for individual Chinese tourists seeking visas.

At present, Tokyo issues these visas to wealthy Chinese nationals only, usually those who earn an annual salary of CNY250,000 or more.

Now, in an effort to boost the number of visitors from its mainland neighbour, Japanese officials have revealed they will issue visas to Chinese nationals who possess gold credit cards.

Such cards are usually given to those who earn at least CNY60,000 a year.

Other conditions are also likely to be applied, with government sources stating a decision will be made following a comprehensive judgment of an applicants’ income and employment status.

Japan wants to boost the number of Chinese travellers by taking advantage of credit capabilities of card companies, they said.

According to the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), some one million Chinese nationals visited Japan in 2009.

Japan lifted a ban on individual Chinese tourists in July last year, with the government issuing 16,000 such visas to the end of March this year.

Tokyo also plans to introduce other measures to facilitate travel for Chinese people to Japan.

For example, if the head of the household meets the conditions to be granted an individual tourist visa, his or her family members up to the second degree of kinship will be granted such visas even if the head of the household does not come to Japan.

At present, such visas can be applied only at three locations - the Japanese Embassy in Beijing and the Japanese consulates in Guangzhou and Shanghai.

However, the Japanese government will now start handling the visas at the Japanese diplomatic facilities in Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian and Qingdao.

The government will also expand the number of travel agencies eligible for applying for visas as proxies for Chinese visa applicants from the current 50 to 300.