Update April 2019:
The Japanese Embassy in China has issued a notice to the designated travel agencies that the single travel visa has been changed from the present paper material submission to the online application.
The embassy said it expects to officially open online applications for single visas to Chinese tourists after June this year.
The Japanese government has announced that it will be offering electronic visa applications for the first time.
Chinese citizens will be the first beneficiaries of the new system, with certain approved Chinese travel agencies able to provide the online visas from May onwards.
These agencies will initially only be able to process single-entry visas. In the case of individuals who choose to submit their own applications and for all visitors requesting multiple-entry visas, the standard paper applications will still be required.
Japan receives more visitors from China than any other country, with Chinese tourists representing 8.8 million of the 31.9 million total of annual foreign visitors and 60% of all visas granted.
Japan hopes to increase the number of foreign visitors it receives to 60 million per year by 2030. Steps such as this new online visa scheme are seen as central to achieving this.
The online visa system for Japan form April 2020
From April 2020, Japan also intends to offer electronic visas, further simplifying the visa application process. This new system will be in place in time to process visas for those wishing to attend the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The Japan online visa system would simplify the process of getting a visa to travel to Japan. In 2017 alone, about 7 million Chinese tourists traveled to Japan.
Another objective of the new electronic visa program for Japan would be to reduce the workload at diplomatic missions and strengthen immigration controls.
To attract more foreign visitors in Japan has already relaxed visa requirements for citizens of several countries. Another effort to draw in more tourism is the increase of low-cost carriers and making more flights available to foreign travelers.
According to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), the estimated number of international travelers to Japan in October 2018 was about 2.6 million, a 1.8 increase from the previous year for the same period.
Led by visitors from China, Japan is welcoming more and more tourists each year. In 2017, Japan attracted 28.69 million international tourists. The country has 21 World Heritage Sites that include impressive landmarks such as the Himeji Castle and the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report from 2017 ranked Japan as 4th out of 141 countries gaining high scores in most areas especially health, hygiene, cultural resources, business travel and safety.
The country is also getting ready to host the Olympics in 2020. The online visa system for Japan would tighten immigration controls and contribute to security during this time.
According to reports, the government has the intention of adding other types of visas to the new electronic system. It is likely that the electronic visa for Japan will be made available for other countries. More details will be shared by the government as the system is developed.
There are 68 countries that can travel to Japan without applying for a visa. Citizens of these 68 countries can stay in Japan for short-term stays of up to 90 days. However, citizens of many other countries are required to apply for a visa at an embassy or consulate. The electronic visa to Japan will simplify the process of obtaining a visa.