Japan is ready to welcome cruise ships again following a two-and-a-half year ban during the worst of the pandemic.
The country imposed the ban on international cruise ships after a Covid outbreak onboard the Diamond Princess ship way back at the start of the pandemic crisis.
The Japanese government has now said, however, that following the adoption of various anti-Covid guidelines by cruise companies and port authorities the country is ready to welcome international cruise ships to its ports once again.
“Japan is now ready to start receiving international cruise ships again,” said Japan’s Transport and Tourism Minister Tetsuo Saito. “We will create an environment that allows tourists to enjoy their cruise without worry while in Japan.”
It marks one of the final elements of Japan’s lucrative tourist industry to return. The country has gradually reopened to foreign tourists, albeit mainly only in the last month, but much more slowly than the rest of the world.
The cruise business returned to Europe and North America more than a year ago.
According to reports, the first scheduled ship will be a Japanese vessel set to depart Yokohama for Mauritius next month and returning in January.
Japan’s cruise guidelines call for all crew members to be vaccinated three times, with passengers needing at least two vaccine shots before boarding. Distancing rules will still apply also.