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Japan's reopening poised to deliver vital GDP boost

Weak yen expected to draw visitors looking for affordable trips

International tourists visit Tokyo's Sensoji temple. Visitors to Japan are expected to rebound to nearly half of pre-pandemic levels next year. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

TOKYO -- Japan's decision to loosen border controls is expected to buoy an economy facing headwinds, as inbound tourism recovers with the aid of a weak yen.

Starting Oct. 11, Japan will open its doors to individual tourists and resume visa-free entry for short-term travelers, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday in New York. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 90% of visitors to Japan came for tourism -- and of these, independent travelers accounted for 80%.

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