Japan cancels tourist visas issued in the Philippines amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Japanese foreign ministry announced on Friday that it will be cancelling tourist visas issued in the Philippines and in other 10 countries in Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Africa until the end of April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting Saturday, March 28, around 750,000 tourist visas granted in the following countries will not be valid, according to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA):

  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand
  • Brunei
  • Malaysia
  • Qatar
  • Bahrain
  • Israel
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo

MOFA announced on its website that the “new measures to strengthen border measures” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic were decided on March 26.

“These measures were decided amidst the further spreading of coronavirus in foreign countries, to take proactive measures including border controls, aligning with measures taken by foreign countries, in order to prevent the further spread of infections,” it said.

The Japanese foreign ministry has already invalidated tourist visas granted in 40 different countries including China, South Korea, Iran, Egypt, and the majority of Europe. Cancellation of Japan tourist visa for Chinese and South Korean nationals was initially set to be lifted by the end of March but this has been extended until the end of April.

Although the visa suspensions will be effective until the end of April, MOFA said, “the implementation period can be renewed.”

Tokyo has not yet declared a full-blown lockdown but its governor, Yuriko Koike, said on Wednesday that residents are encouraged to refrain from non-essential, non-urgent outings through April 12.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, Luzon is on lockdown until April 12.

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