Japan's full easing of COVID-19 border controls may bode well for the pandemic-hit domestic tourism sector, but it could raise fears that the first inflow of visa-free foreign travelers in more than two years could increase the spread of infections at home.

While the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged to relax coronavirus rules, its policy shift to scrap the cap on daily arrivals is expected to prompt Japanese citizens to rely more on face masks to prevent infections.

In addition, concerns are growing that if infections actually expand after the full reopening of borders to independent foreign tourists, some discrimination against those visiting Japan from abroad, many of whom may have become re-accustomed to life without masks, might prevail.