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Japan to give Chinese school trip visa exemptions
Updated: 2004-06-09 11:16

The Japanese government plans to give participants in Chinese school trips to Japan visa exemptions, possibly from July, as a means to boost foreign visitors to the country, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

The trips will help promote youth exchanges and participating students are unlikely to abscond to work illegally in Japan as they are children, the ministry said in a preliminary report.

Japan hopes to double the number of foreign visitors to Japan from some 5 million in 2002 to 10 million in 2010.

Although a ban on Chinese group trips to Japan was lifted in September 2000, the government has issued visas only to group trip participants living in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong Province.

The Foreign Ministry is now working out conditions for the visa exemption.

China's school trips are limited to summer holiday tours and students join on a voluntary basis. Japanese schools usually organize trips as part of regular education programs, the ministry said.

Visa issuance fees were eliminated in April for high school and younger students taking part in Chinese school trips.

In March this year, Japan gave visa exemptions to school trip participants from South Korea, whose school trip system is similar to Japan's.

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