Over 100 foreigners disappeared in Japan last year after arriving on cruise ships
soranews24.com -- Feb 19
Immigration Bureau's relaxed visa policy has boosted tourism from southeast Asia, but it seems to have come with an unwanted side-effect.

Japan has been welcoming record numbers of foreign visitors in the past few years, and not all of them arrive via Narita, Haneda, or one of the other major airports. As an island nation, boat travel is a viable option in getting to Japan, and thanks to easing of government regulations there's been a huge increase in the number of travelers taking cruise ships to Japan.

In 2014, roughly 410,000 foreign travelers arrived in Japan via cruise ship, but in 2018 that number grew to 2.44 million. The sextupling is largely credited to an amendment to Japan's Immigration Control Act which went into effect on January 1, 2015, called the Ship Tourism Landing Permit System.

Under the system, foreign visitors who arrive on ships approved by Japan's Immigration Bureau, have booked passage home on the same vessel, and provide their fingerprints (via electronic scan upon arrival in Japan) can have their visa requirement waived, and also don't need to be photographed when going through immigration. While this might not be a major change for visitors from countries such as the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and Korea (citizens of which are allowed to stay in Japan for at least 90 days without a prior visa), the Ship Tourism Landing Permit System has made travel to Japan from China and a number of southeast Asian countries much easier, and the relaxed policy has led to a rapid increase in the number of cruise trips traveling from China to Japan's southwestern island of Kyushu (the closest to China out of Japan's four main islands).

News source: soranews24.com
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