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Coronavirus

Hokkaido ski resorts feel labor pinch as Japan reopens borders

Niseko hotels see reservations rising, but struggle to hire foreign staff

The COVID-19 pandemic meant few skiers on the normally crowded slopes of Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu ski resort in Hokkaido in December 2021. (Photo by Masatoshi Ida)

SAPPORO -- With the Japanese government recently deciding to ease entry restrictions for overseas tourists, Chitose Airport near Sapporo is preparing to welcome visitors again. And Niseko, a major winter resort two and a half hours' drive west, is taking more reservations for the upcoming ski season.

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