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Coronavirus

Masks and chaperones: Japan's new rules for foreign tour groups

Guides must accompany visitors 'from entry to departure'

People walk near the Sensoji temple, a famous Tokyo tourist spot, in January. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TOKYO -- Japan is opening up to overseas tour groups from Friday, but under strict conditions: visitors must wear masks, buy insurance and be accompanied by a tour guide "from entry to departure."

Under guidelines issued by Japan's Tourism Agency on Tuesday, tourists will be allowed into the country for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, but only if they are part of a group sponsored by a Japanese travel agency or another receiving organization.

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