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Japan will ease pandemic-related travel restrictions next month, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Thursday, making it easier for tourists to enter the country.

Why it matters: Japan has long been a popular travel destination in Asia, recording nearly 32 million visitors in 2019. But the pandemic has devastated the tourism industry, with fewer than 250,000 people visiting Japan last year.

Details: Starting Oct. 11, individual travelers will be allowed to re-enter Japan, Bloomberg reports. Visa exemptions will also be restored for travelers from dozens of countries, including the US.

What they say: “I hope a lot of people use it. I want to support the travel, entertainment and other industries that have been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic,” Kishida said at a press conference during his visit to New York for the UN General Assembly.

The Big Picture: Japan has experienced two major waves of COVID infections this year. Last month, the country was registering more than 200,000 cases almost every day.

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