Thai government tackles rise in nationals overstaying Japan visas

Picture courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Thai government pledged to tackle the increasing number of Thai nationals overstaying their 15-day visas in Japan, following a sharp rise in such incidents over recent years. This commitment was confirmed by Jakkapong Sangmanee, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, who recently held discussions with a senior official from the Japanese embassy.

The public expressed concerns over the potential removal of visa-free privileges granted by Japan, with Tokyo calling for an urgent resolution to this issue. This matter, if not addressed, could potentially jeopardise the continuation of the visa-free policy in 2025.

Data from the Department of Consular Affairs revealed a significant increase in the number of Thais overstaying their Japan visas. The figures rose from 8,688 in 2021 to 9,549 in 2022 and 11,472 in 2023. This is a stark contrast to the roughly 3,500 cases recorded in 2013, the year the visa-free policy was introduced.

While acknowledging the numbers as relatively minor compared to the total outbound tourists from Thailand last year, Jakkapong vowed to investigate the issue further. He has tasked the Department of Consular Affairs with coordinating with various agencies, adding that the ministry would collaborate with the Labour Ministry to encourage legal employment in the country.

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The Japanese official reportedly appreciated the Thai government’s efforts and agreed that a joint effort was necessary to resolve the issue.

The Giftchan Nang Lao Facebook page, a source of information about Japan, noted that the number of foreign nationals overstaying their visas in the country has generally increased. This observation aligns with data from the Japanese authorities, reported Bangkok Post.

Visas for Thai visitors have been waived by Tokyo since July 2013, following the Fukushima nuclear power plant incident. This privilege was briefly suspended during the pandemic but was reinstated in October 2022.

In related news, fears of a potential withdrawal of Japan’s visa-free privileges due to an increased number of Thais overstaying their visas have been dismissed by travel operators. The Department of Consular Affairs brought attention to this issue last December, revealing an increase in the number of Thais overstaying from 8,688 in 2021 to 11,472 in 2023.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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