To promote tourism and assist local business and the overall economy of Japan, the Japan Railway group offers overseas short-term visitors the use of an economical Japan Rail Pass. In more recent years this facility was extended under strict conditions to Japanese nationals living permanently overseas.
Starting April 1, availability of the Japan Rail Pass to Japanese nationals with permanent residence overseas has been severely curtailed. No reason for this decision has been given.
Being non-Japanese I can use the Japan Rail Pass, but my wife, a Japanese national living permanently overseas, cannot. This means that, as a couple traveling together, we have both been deprived of the convenience and flexibility that the pass offers. As a direct consequence it also means less trips to the Japan we both love to visit, especially to the more remote areas that rely on tourism for their well-being.
At a time when Japan’s government and businesses are seeking ways to boost tourism and global trade, this action does not appear to be logical. Nor does it present a positive image of Japan.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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