Japan opens visa-free access to Qataris

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Qatar passport

Qatari passport holders will be exempt from visas for travel to Japan from 21 August, authorities announced on Tuesday.

The newly introduced system will enable Qatari citizens to apply for visas electronically at the Embassy of Japan in Doha. Upon registering their passports, travellers will be able to complete the visa waiver registration process online, making travel between the two nations more seamless and efficient.

Upon landing at a Japanese airport, Qatari citizens will need to show the notice of their visa waiver registration on their mobile devices, according to a statement from Qatar’s Ministry of Affairs.

This development is expected to strengthen ties between Qatar and Japan and promote tourism and business travel between the two countries. It reflects the friendly relations that have been nurtured for several decades, with Japan being one of Qatar’s most significant trading partners.

The aviation sector has been instrumental in fostering tourism relations between the two nations. Both Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways have been expanding their flight networks to include more direct routes between Tokyo and Doha, a testament to the growing partnership.

Qatar and Japan have also collaborated on several projects, such as the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in Qatar, providing a substantial portion of Japan’s energy needs.

Ensuring a stable energy supply of LNG was a primary topic of discussion during the Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio’s first trip to Doha in July, meeting with Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Sheikh Tamim assured Prime Minister Kishida that the Gulf country is poised to guarantee a steady LNG supply.

Qatar is one of Japan’s major sources of LNG imports, alongside Australia and Malaysia, with Japan’s LNG dependence on the Middle East accounting for approximately 20% of total imports. In February 2021, a contract was awarded to a Japanese firm for the development and construction of LNG plants, part of the North Field Expansion Project, signifying a vital element in Qatar’s growth and prosperity.

Besides the robust economic connections, diplomatic ties between Qatar and Japan have also flourished, marked by exchanges of visits by high-level officials in recent years.

In 2018, Sheikh Tamim visited Japan and met with the then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss ways to further strengthen the relationship between the two nations.

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