• Kyodo News

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Japan will relax conditions for granting visas to individual Chinese tourists starting July 1 as part of the drive to bring in more visitors — and their money, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said Tuesday.

Until now, visas have only been issued to wealthy individual Chinese tourists. Under the new criteria, mid-level corporate and government employees and their families will be granted such visas, Okada said.

Japan expects about 16 million Chinese households to be eligible to apply for the tourist visas, roughly 10 times the current level, according to Okada.

The vast majority of Chinese who visit Japan do so as part of group tours rather than on an individual basis.

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