India Travel
Japan liberalises visa policy for Indian tourist groups
Apr 30, 2007 - 10:15:48 PM

New Delhi, April 30 - Culture and showbiz blended as India and Japan Monday launched their tourism exchange year and Tokyo announced a liberalised visa policy to attract more tourists from the land of Buddha.

Indian tourists wishing to visit Japan will have a more streamlined visa procedure with visas being arranged through 82 pre-identified tour operators for group tourists, Japanese Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Tetsuzo Fuyushiba said at a function at the Japanese Embassy here.

Indian Minister of Tourism and Culture Ambika Soni welcomed the announcement and sought Japan's help in developing Buddhist circuits in India.

Celebrity Japanese actress Yoshino Mori, her country's goodwill ambassador of tourism, said she was enchanted by India on her first visit and hoped more and more Indians would visit Japan.

The liberalised visa regime for tourists is powered by a new perception of India in Japan as Asia's emerging power with a rapidly growing economy and aims at making people-to-people contacts the centrepiece of the newly forged strategic partnership between the two Asian powers.

More Indians are visiting Japan - 62,505 last year as compared to 40,345 six years ago.

During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Tokyo in December last year, the two Asian powers set the target for increasing the flow of visitors between the two countries to 300,000 by 2010, almost double the 2005 figures, and to 500,000 by 2015.

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