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Transport minister Kazuo Kitagawa said Tuesday he wants to make permanent a plan under which group tourists from all over China will get Visas for the six-month Aichi World Exposition.

“I strongly hope (the plan) would to be introduced as a permanent measure,” Kitagawa told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.

Kitagawa discussed a plan with China on Jan. 18 in which visas will be issued to group tourists from all over the country, rather than only to those from the eight designated cities and provinces under the current arrangement, for six months starting March 25.

The minister said at that time the arrangement could be made permanent depending on whether the two countries can “successfully expand exchanges.”

Meanwhile, National Public Safety Commission Chairman Yoshitaka Murata struck a cautious note.

“It is a special measure and I do not think it will be extended automatically,” Murata told reporters.

“We will consider whether to extend the arrangements taking into account the actual situations during the expo.”

Although the two ministers did not say so, they are believed to be concerned about Chinese people entering the country to work illegally.

On Monday, the government formalized a visa waiver arrangement for South Koreans during the expo period.

A planned visa waiver for Taiwanese, however, has reportedly been put on hold folloning protests from Chine.

As part of efforts to draw visitors to the expo, the government earlier said it plans to waive visa requirements for Taiwanese and South Koreans.

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