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Posts Tagged ‘ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation’

1st July 2013

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan has made a new policy regarding visa-free travel for Thai nationals. In order to explore this issue more fully it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

In celebration of the 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, the Government of Japan has decided that from July 1, nationals of the Kingdom of Thailand in possession of ordinary IC passports who wish to enter Japan for a period not exceeding 15 consecutive days for short-term stay will be made exempt from the visa requirements. The further development of Japan-Thailand exchange is expected as a result of the exemption of visa requirements, including increases in the number of tourists from Thailand who visit Japan and the enhancement of the ease of business transactions between the two countries.

Prior to this announcement, Thai nationals wishing to visit Japan, even for a short period of time, were required to obtain a visa in advance. Although limited to only 15 days of visa-free lawful status in Japan, this policy change is likely to have a significant impact upon Thai-Japanese travel patterns with the upshot that Japan is likely to see a rise in Thai tourists visitng that country. The Japanese government also noted that visa-free travel privileges do not extend to all travelers wishing to visit Japan:

However, those entering Japan with intentions other than those noted above; or in other words, those who wish to stay in Japan for short-term stay of over 15 days or who wish to stay for purposes such as work, will be required to obtain visas in advance. In addition, this visa exemption applies only to those with an ordinary IC passport. Nationals of the Kingdom of Thailand who do not hold an ordinary IC passport continue to be required to obtain a visa.

Those interested in this recent announcement are encouraged to click upon the hyperlink noted above to view this announcement in detail. It would appear that although Japan is granting limited visa-free travel privileges to Thais these privileges are only to be used by those wishing to travel to Japan for short periods of time as tourists. In much the same way that Thailand grants Thai Visa Exemptions to passport holders from many different countries, but requires those wishing to work or reside in Thailand to obtain a long term visa (and later extension) prior to arrival; so too are Japanese officials attempting to make certain that those lawfully present in Japan are there only for short periods of time and not utilizing this privilege as a means of maintaining permanent presence.

For related information please see: Thailand Business Visa.

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