National

Kansai International, Naha to get more immigration officers

Kyodo

The central government decided Tuesday to add 57 more immigration officers at Kansai International Airport near Osaka and Naha Airport in Okinawa Prefecture to deal with the rapid rise in the number of foreign visitors to Japan.

The measure comes after 35 immigration officers were added at airports and other places in June.

“The number of visitors has been increasing at a faster pace than expected,” said an official at the Immigration Bureau, an arm of the Justice Ministry.

In the latest dispatch, the number of immigration officers will rise by 45 at Kansai International and by 12 at Naha.

Foreign travelers currently have to wait 30 to 50 minutes during peak times at both airports to pass through immigration, whereas the government has set a target of no more than 20 minutes.

The government also decided recently to add 51 customs officers at ports where the number of foreign travelers arriving aboard cruise ships has been surging.

While aiming to increase the annual number of foreign visitors to the country to 20 million by 2020, when Tokyo will host the Olympics, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration has also flagged strengthening border controls to prevent terrorism.

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