The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 17 announced plans to relax visa rules for tourists from Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines in a bid to double the number of foreign visitors ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Tourists with Indonesian e-passports will be exempt from getting a visa, while rules for those from Vietnam and the Philippines will be substantially eased. New regulations will come into effect as soon as possible, the ministry said.

The move is expected to help promote the image of Japan and draw around 20 million international tourists annually, it added.

Japan topped the 10 million visitor mark for the first time in 2013 as its tourism sector recovers after the quake-tsunami and nuclear disaster three years ago.

Officials believe that their efforts to boost the number of foreign arrivals will help kickstart the world’s number three economy.-VNA