Japan's licensed tour guides prepare for return of visitors

Licensed tour guides in Japan are getting ready to resume work as more foreign tourists are expected to visit the country now that border controls have been relaxed.

The government raised its cap on the number of daily arrivals to Japan from 20,000 to 50,000 starting Wednesday as a further easing of its coronavirus entry restrictions. The nationally licensed interpreter-guides provide services in various languages.

About 70 licensed tour guides took part in training in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo on Wednesday.

Participants looked around sightseeing spots and popular shops. They also listened to explanations of the area's history and features from tour guides familiar with the area.
A survey by the Japan Federation of Certified Guides, or JFG, showed that more than 70 percent of about 500 respondents had no tour guiding work from January through the end of August this year.

One of the participants in the training said she hopes to see more foreign tourists, even if the increase is little by little. The woman said she had absolutely no tour guiding work during the past two and half years.

JFG President Matsumoto Yoshie said the federation organized the training, hoping for the early return of overseas tourists. She added that tour guides are patiently making preparations, even though some of them have had no work.