Tokyo is considering easing immigration process for Vietnamese individuals entering Japan with the aim of boosting the influx of foreign tourists and skilled workers, as per an announcement from Japan’s foreign ministry.
Japan is considering easing immigration process for Vietnamese visitors as part of efforts to revive its post-Covid tourism sector, according to Kobayashi Maki, a spokeswoman for Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Maki highlighted the decline in tourist numbers due to the pandemic, noting that in 2019, around 500,000 Vietnamese tourists visited Japan, while 952,000 Japanese tourists visited Vietnam.
She mentioned a significant increase in the number of Vietnamese tourists to Japan in the first quarter of the current year, reaching 161,000, a twelvefold rise compared to the same period in 2022.
The spokeswoman for Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kobayashi Maki, emphasized the importance of enhancing cultural cooperation and easing immigration process for Vietnamese visitors to further increase their numbers in Japan. Though a complete visa exemption is not yet in place, Japan is considering measures to make the visa application process more convenient.
Maki did not provide specific details on how immigration process would be eased, but confirmed that visas are currently required for all Vietnamese entering Japan, except for those with diplomatic or official passports. Maki mentioned that the Japanese government is reconsidering its strategy to attract high-quality workers and emphasized the priority of creating new advantages for Vietnamese workers through the new immigration process. Given Japan’s aging population and worker shortage issues, Maki stated that they are exploring options such as expanding fields of specialties and improving benefits, with potential changes expected to be introduced next year.
Japan is also considering closing its foreign trainee program and implementing a new worker recruitment system aimed at “protecting and developing” human resources. The proposed program would involve the introduction of specific benefits for workers.
As of June 2021, approximately 202,000 Vietnamese technical trainees were studying and working in Japan, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Spokeswoman Kobayashi Maki mentioned that Japan is committed to providing Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Vietnam, despite potential budget deficits in her country.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh of Vietnam also requested Japan to support large-scale strategic infrastructure development projects in Vietnam through a new generation of ODA during the official state reception ceremony for Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamikawa Yoko in Hanoi.
Japan holds a crucial role as one of Vietnam’s top economic partners, ranking first in Official Development Assistance (ODA), second in labor cooperation, third in investment and tourism, and fourth in commerce. The bilateral trade turnover in 2022 amounted to approximately $50 billion, with Vietnam exporting $24.2 billion to Japan and importing goods valued at $23.4 billion.
The two countries have signed various free trade agreements, such as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, the Vietnam Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.