Philippines welcomes Japan's easing of visa rules

Posted at 06/14/2013 11:18 PM | Updated as of 06/14/2013 11:18 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines on Friday welcomed Japan's move to relax visa rules for tourists from Southeast Asia, specifically its decision to allow multiple-entry visas for Filipino tourists.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said the decision "will encourage more Filipinos to travel to Japan and recreate more opportunities for people-to-people exchange between our two countries."

The Japanese government decided Tuesday to waive visa requirements for tourists from Thailand and Malaysia and allow the issuance of multiple-entry visas for visitors from both the Philippines and Vietnam, starting this summer.

The move is aimed at increasing visitors from Southeast Asia by 2.5 times the current level to 2 million in 2016, which would help boost Japan's economy.

Of about 8.37 million foreign visitors to Japan in 2012, 780,000 were from Southeast Asia.