Starting from 11am today, Taiwanese planning to travel to Japan can apply for an electronic visa online, the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association said on Monday.
The Japanese government has launched the trial program to further relax travel restrictions that were imposed to contain COVID-19 and ease the workload of its embassies abroad.
The announcement comes as the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that visa-waiver reciprocity has been restored with 55 nations and would be further expanded to more countries, including Japan.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the CECC, yesterday told a news conference that Japan’s decision to allow Taiwanese tourists to apply for an electronic visa online “is major progress,” adding that it shows that Tokyo is taking steady steps to reopen its borders.
“We have resumed visa-waiver programs in 55 nations worldwide. We are planning to reinstate the program in other countries as well, including Japan,” Wang said.
Wang said that the center is closely monitoring the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases this month and planning how to reopen the nation’s borders, including how COVID-19 tests should be administered for inbound travelers, the cap on inbound tourists and resuming visa-waiver programs.
Wang in an interview with Radio Taiwan International on Monday said that he hopes to see some improvement in the number of COVID-19 cases at the end of this month and the beginning of next month, adding that people would not need to wait until the Lunar New Year for borders to be fully reopened.
“We understand that international tourists are more likely to visit Taiwan if the requirement for a three-day quarantine period is lifted, but preventing COVID-19 remains the top priority and a steady reopening of the border remains the guiding principle,” he said.
Inbound and outbound tours would resume at “about the same time,” he added.
Former National Taiwan University Hospital infectious disease physician Kong Hsiang-chi (孔祥琪), who is also an expert on tours to Japan, said that the online visa application service removes a big obstacle for people wanting to travel to Japan.
The trial program applies to Taiwanese residing in Taiwan who plan to spend no more than 90 days upon a single entry to Japan, including tourists, business travelers and visitors of relatives, Kong said.
Those applying for multiple entries must still apply for visas at the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, he said.
Travelers must still follow Japan’s new border measures announced on June 10 that require them to obtain a certificate proving that they have completed an application in Japan’s Entrants, Returnees Follow-up System (ERFS), Kong said.
The ERFS application shows that foreign nationals have made proper arrangements if they contract COVID-19 when traveling in Japan and it must be filed by organizations receiving visitors to Japan, such as companies, schools or groups inviting them, he said.
Taiwanese tourists would need to ask their travel agents to obtain an ERFS certificate for them, Kong said.
People who have already made an appointment at the association’s office in Taipei can still file applications online without having to cancel the appointment, while those making an appointment at the association’s office in Kaohsiung need to send an e-mail to cancel it, he said.
Electronic visas should be issued after five working days if there is no problem, although tourists must still pay the application fee at the association’s offices in Taipei or Kaohsiung upon receipt of the electronic visa in an e-mail, Kong said.
MORE ARRIVALS ALLOWED: Taiwan yesterday increased its cap on arrivals to 60,000 from 50,000 ahead of a full border opening with a weekly cap of 150,000 on Oct. 13 Travelers arriving in Taiwan from Oct. 13 would no longer be required to quarantine on arrival and visitors of all nationalities would be allowed to enter, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced yesterday. However, the number of arrivals would be capped at 150,000 per week, he added. Travelers aged two or older would be given four rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits on arrival and be asked to monitor their health for seven days, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference. Under the new arrival protocol, travelers would have to take a test on the day of arrival or the day after, followed
SOVEREIGN NATION: The Chinese premier’s remarks about the CCP’s resolve to achieve unification sought to undermine the legitimacy of Taiwan, the MAC said Taiwan will never accept Beijing’s attempts to undermine its sovereignty, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday, after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at its National Day celebrations in Beijing vowed to achieve unification with Taiwan. The CCP’s statement was not conducive to peaceful cross-strait relations, the council said. The event, hosted by the Chinese State Council, featured Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強), the other five CCP Politburo Standing Committee members and Vice President Wang Qishan (王岐山), as well as 500 guests from China and abroad. Taiwanese based in China also attended the ceremony, Xinhua news agency
Washington is evaluating a transfer of weapons systems requested by Taiwan, according to a copy of a report by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) that is to be submitted to lawmakers tomorrow. Asked whether the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile would be among the weapons systems, the ministry refused to comment, but said that it would not rule out announcing the specifics later this year. The ministry’s domestically sourced high-priority military investments include submarines, next-generation light frigates, rescue ships, advanced trainer jets and infantry fighting vehicles, the report said. Planned deals include F-16A and F-16B jet performance upgrades, navigation and targeting
DEFENSE-READY: The armament of the ‘Yushan’ allows for amphibious combat operations, the head of a firm involved in the ship’s construction said The navy yesterday took delivery of the first locally developed and built naval ship of more than 10,000 tonnes in a ceremony in Kaohsiung presided over by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The ROCS Yushan, an amphibious transport dock, was the result of a government-initiated indigenous shipbuilding project seeking to establish autonomy over national defense, Tsai said. She thanked CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台船), the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology and the navy for their contributions. The military needs the best equipment to uphold peace and defend Taiwan as it faces military threats from China, Tsai said. The 153m long and 23m wide Yushan


Shop Sephari