TOKYO – Upon the conclusion of their summit meeting, President Benigno Aquino thanked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for “making it possible for even more Filipino tourists to visit this country, with the further relaxation of visa regulations.”
“Conversely, with the sustained enthusiasm of Japanese nationals for my country’s tourist spots, more of your people are finding out firsthand why it is indeed more fun in the Philippines. I thank the Japanese people for their contributions to my country’s economic growth,” Aquino added.
\The two leaders discussed the relaxation of visa requirements for Filipinos visiting Japan, after it was earlier reported that the visa requirements were scrapped entirely.
Abe did not expound on the decision to relax the requirements, instead of outright removal of these for visa issuances to Filipinos entering Japan.
“I also informed the President about the relaxation of visa requirements for the Philippines toward the promotion of human exchange. It is hoped that many tourists from the Philippines would visit Japan,” Abe said.
The Japanese embassy issued a statement via its website last week, saying that multiple and single entry tourist visa issuances for Filipinos going to Japan will be relaxed. Single-entry tourist visas will be granted quasi-exemption status.
Statistics as of December 2013 indicate that there are 206,769 Filipinos in Japan; 5,722 of whom have no valid visas.
Filipinos make up 10% of all foreign nationals living in Japan, making them the 3rd largest foreign people group in the country.
Furthermore, the Philippines’ is Japan’s top trading partner.