Wed, Dec 08, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Japan may have backed off from visa plan: report

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The Japanese government may have reversed its plan to grant Taiwanese tourists visa-free entry beginning next March, the Kyodo news agency reported yesterday.

An anonymous high-ranking official from Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quoted by Kyodo yesterday as saying that the visa policy toward Taiwanese and South Korean tourists during next year's Exposition from March to September in Aichi and afterward would remain as before.

Japan now grants Taiwanese tourists a three-day visa upon arrival. For a longer stay, Taiwanese tourists must apply in advance for a visa.

Many media and political observers suspect that Japan's surprising U-turn on the planned revision to its immigration law that would grant Taiwanese visitors visa-exempt treaty may be related to China's concern and involvement in this issue, according to the Kyodo report.

The Japanese government had announced that it has scheduled a legal revision that would grant Taiwanese and South Korean visitors visa-free entry during exposition. In addition, if tourists from Taiwan and South Korea could prove that they were law-abiding, the Japanese government had said it would further grant them permanent visa-exempt status.

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