Thus, General Director of Smart Travel, Evgenia Didrovskaya, commented on the situation as follows: ‘before January 2006 a transit through Japan allowing to stay in the country not more than 72 hours did not require visa. Therefore, many tourists took a chance to visit Tokyo either on the way to their destination or on the way back. Then our partners informed us about the new rule suggesting issuing transit visa. However, it did not affect the work of travel agents – we simply booked a hotel and organize an excursion program. At the moment tourist must leave for their destination by the first convenient flight. In case the time between flights is several hours tourists must stay in the transit zone. Otherwise, it is necessary to issue a tourist visa which takes 3-4 days more and given the cost of invitation sent by DHL costs around 100$’.
Nevertheless, the Consulate of Japan in Moscow did not confirm the information about the changes. ‘We did not adopt the new rules. Transit visas have always suggested the following procedure: Japanese transit visa is issued only in case that a route through Japan is the only possible one. Besides, the passenger must leave Japan by the first convenient flight. The ceiling of 72 hours was set for emergency cases. If, for example, tourists are going to Australia and the flight to the destination is only in 24 hours after the arrival to Japan, they get a transit visa that allows them to go to the city and stay in whatever hotel they want’, commented a representative of the Consulate.
However, experts point out that the current situation might affect tours to the mentioned regions. Tourists preferred to fly by Jal – which offers quite expensive rates - in order to visit Tokyo. At the moment the route via Japan will become less attractive comparing to alternative variants with more convenient transits – Singapore and Hong Kong.