Travel curbs prevent Chinese from applying for Japan tourist visas

The number of Chinese traveling to Japan during the Lunar New Year holiday is likely to be far lower than that seen before the coronavirus pandemic. This is the result of restrictions on overseas travel imposed by China upon its citizens.

The weeklong holiday period will start on Saturday.

The Japanese Embassy in Beijing has been issuing visas to people who will be in Japan on business or to go sightseeing.

But the Chinese government has told travel agencies not to organize overseas group tours, which used to account for many Chinese tourist visits to Japan.

This effectively prevents the agencies from applying for tourist visas on their customers' behalf.

The number of flights linking Japan and China has fallen to around five percent of the figure seen in 2019, before the pandemic.

A travel agency official says they are only handling applications from business travelers. The official says they are hoping that applications for tourist visas will resume.

Embassy official Okada Masaru says Japan has been implementing anti-infection measures at borders in a way that does not hamper international travel.

He says the embassy will respond appropriately to any changes in the infection trend in China and to information provided by Beijing.