World Bulletin/News Desk
Starting July 1, Filipinos can apply for multiple-entry visas for short-term trips to Japan, part of the East Asian country's relaxed visa rules for select Southeast Asian countries, reported Rappler.
"The Government of Japan has decided to begin issuance from July 1, of multiple entry visas for short-term stay to nationals of the Republic of the Philippines (ordinary passport holders) who reside in their home country," the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a news release Tuesday, June 25.
The MOFA release said applicants will have to meet "certain conditions." They will also be required to have machine-readable passports that meet the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), or an ordinary IC passport.
The multiple-entry visas will allow Filipinos to stay in Japan for a period of 15 days, and the visas will be valid for up to 3 years.
"The further development of Japan-Philippines exchange is expected as a result of the issuance of multiple entry visas, including increase in the number of tourists from the Philippines who visit Japan and the enhancement of the ease of business transactions between the two countries," the MOFA said.
"Japan will continue to accept and deliver Visa applications for Japan through accredited agencies," the Japanese Embassy in Manila said in a news release Thursday, June 27.
Citizens of Vietnam will also be granted the privilege, while Indonesians, who are already eligible for multiple-entry visas for short-term stays, will have their lengths of stay extended from 15 days to up to 30 days.
Lifted for Thais, Malaysians
Visa requirements for citizens of Thailand and Malaysia, meanwhile, have been lifted for short-term stays.
For Malaysia, citizens must have an ordinary IC passport to use this privilege; those who do not have an IC passport will still be encouraged to apply for a visa.
In the case of Thailand, there will be no visa requirements for Thai citizens who will visit Japan for 15 days or less; for trips longer than 15 days, visas will still be required.
Prior to this, only citizens of Brunei and Singapore were allowed to enter Japan without a visa.
These relaxed visa requirements are part of Japan's measures to increase tourism traffic, and are part of the commemoration of the 40th year of Japan's engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Said the MOFA: "Through the years, ASEAN and Japan have forged close cooperation towards peace, stability, development and prosperity in Asia. They have established close business partnership with total bilateral trade amounting to 248 billion US dollars in 2011. ASEAN Member States are major foreign direct investment destinations for Japanese enterprises."
"For 2013, Japan and ASEAN Member States plan to carry out exchange projects in a wide range of fields, including political dialogue, economy, culture, youth, and tourism," the MOFA added.
Japan is targeting 10 million tourists this 2013. The Japan Times reported that visitors from the Philippines rose 28.2% in the period of January to April this year, compared to the same period last year.
Military says 19 people arrested this week admitted they were involved in fatal attacks on police outposts
A US warship sailed past the South China sea, with two Chinese naval vessels sending a warning to the ship
State union with 300,000 employees could strike over pro-independence workers being sacked
Day after Philippines leader declares separation from US, ministers say was merely signaling stronger ties with neighbors
Three-year plan aims to promote relations between two foreign ministries
Islamabad court orders police to arrest PTI leader Imran Khan and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri over 2014 protests
Military gov’t earlier said sought to seize Yingluck Shinawatra's assets to repay debt accrued under gov't scheme
As China moves closer to Pakistan, Chinese forces hold joint drills with rival Indian forces in Kashmir
Rights group says officials citing security operations to deny access to area where violence has displaced Rohingya, others
Men taken to suspected drug hideout outside of Jakarta when they attacked officers with knife and tried to seize firearms
No tsunami alert issued for shallow earthquake in Tottori prefecture
Amnesty International says armed clashes, violence, worsened humanitarian situation for Rohingya and others
The government should return military-occupied land and disengage troops from civilian activities, a key demand of ethnic Tamils in the island's war-battered north.
"I announce my separation from the United States," he said to applause at a meeting in the Chinese capital.
Scores of teachers, students and workers were packed into the crowded boat when it capsized in the early hours of Saturday as it chugged along the Chindwin River.
'Lawin' - known internationally as Haima - 2nd typhoon to hit country in just 4 days