August 06, 2019 12:21
The Japanese government expects icy relations with Korea to continue for some time.
"It will be a prolonged war from now on," a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official was quoted as saying by the Asahi Shimbun on Saturday. The paper added that there is a belief in the Japanese cabinet that giving in to Korea would send the government's approval ratings into tailspin.
Tokyo is therefore preparing additional trade retaliation against Korea in a deepening spat over compensating Korean victims of wartime forced labor. It is also bracing itself for dwindling numbers of Korean tourists, who accounted for 24 percent of all foreign visitors last year with 7.54 million, and make up for the shortfall with visitors from China.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry announced Sunday that in order to increase efficiency of visa issuance and improve convenience, it will accept online visa applications from Chinese tourists from next April.
Currently Chinese travelers have to apply at a consular office in person. Last year some 8.38 million Chinese visited Japan, and Tokyo hopes to increase that to 10 million this year.
When asked about decreasing number of Korean tourists, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, "We have an 11-percent increase in the number of Chinese tourists instead, and also have a two-digit growth rate of tourists from the U.S. and Europe. There will be no big damage."
The ministry also issued a travel warning for Korea amid anti-Japanese protests here. It advised Japanese nationals to pay attention to latest updates provided by their embassy, not to approach demonstrations, and take extra care when traveling around.
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