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Japan opens travel market to wealthy Chinese
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Japan's Tourism Department says that from July 2009, Japan will issue travel visas to individual tourists from the affluent classes from Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

It is learned that Japan will increase the number of personnel at its embassy in China and plans to expand the visa issuance service to cover rich people in all Chinese provinces by July 2010.

At present, Chinese tourists can only visit Japan by joining tour groups. It is estimated that the total number of Chinese visiting Japan would increase by, based on the current million arrivals, after Japanese market is open to rich Chinese individuals.

However, it is learned that Japan will only issue visas to Chinese citizens whose annual income is more than CNY250,000 to prevent any illegal overstays by tourists. In addition the Japanese government is also considering increasing the penalties for travel service providers whose tour groups are involved in illegal stays or other irregularities.

(China Hospitality News March 30, 2009)

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