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Travel & Leisure

Japan's tourism reboot begins with a whimper

Friday morning flights touch down without tour groups after change in border rules

People pass through the international terminal at Tokyo's Haneda Airport, but no tour groups arrived on Friday morning despite an easing of travel rules. (File photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TOKYO -- Japan officially opened its borders to tourists on Friday for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but no tour guides were at Tokyo's Haneda Airport's international terminal in the early morning to welcome visitors.

Even as the government began allowing group tours from 98 countries and regions classified as "blue" to enter, none of the flights that came in from Australia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia appeared to be carrying tour groups.

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