A policy that will allow visa-free entry to Japan for Filipinos is being expected for implementation this 2015, according to the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs). Once implemented, Japan will join more than 60 countries in the world that allows Filipino tourists without visa.
“The plan of the Japanese government to allow Filipinos to visit their country without the need to get a visa might happen sometime before 2015 ends.” DFA spokesperson Charlie Jose said in an interview this Saturday, emphasizing that visa-free policy is only applicable to tourists and not for OFWs.
“This good news is a result of the continuous good relationship between the Philippines and Japan.” Jose added, noting that the talks between the two countries started back in 2013. The final agreement is set to happen right after the APEC Summit this coming November to be hosted by the Philippines.
In 2013, Japan started to implement a multiple-entry visa policy for travelers from the Philippines as well as to tourists from other Southeast Asian countries. Japan is also among the first countries to provide help to victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that same year.
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In October last year, the Japanese government started to ease tourist visa requirements to Vietnamese, Indonesians, and Filipinos as part of their project to increase tourism in their country. Experts believe that this move by Japan will also attract additional tourists in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
As of posting, the ASEAN countries that don’t require a visa for Filipino visitors are Brunei (14 days), Cambodia (21 days), Indonesia (30 days), Laos (30 days), Malaysia (30 days), Myanmar (14 days), Singapore (30 days), Thailand (30 days), and Vietnam (21 days).
For the non-ASEAN members that visa-free for Filipinos, the countries include India, Iran, Israel, Mongolia, and Nepal. Hong Kong and Macao also don’t require visas for Filipino tourists. Nevertheless, most of these places issue visa upon arrival and with some conditions.
But while there are also areas in Africa, Europe, Oceana, North America, and South America where Filipinos are not required to get a tourist visa, all countries in the Middle East still require visa for their tourists. In fact, some Arab countries implement stricter requirements than other countries.
Meanwhile, many Filipinos are excited upon hearing this visa-free to Filipinos who want to visit Japan. One of them is 24-year old Apolinaria Magbitang, whose mother has been working in Japan as a caregiver for more than five years.
“I’m so excited that it will be soon easier for me to visit my mother, considering that we only see each other every Christmas season.” Apolinaria Magbitang (@apolopdiay) tweeted, adding that she’s happy that Japan did not get mad about the comment of Korina Sanchez during Typhoon Ruby.
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