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Brazil Brings Back Visa Requirements for Japanese Tourists

Starting from October 1st, Brazil will require citizens from the United States, Australia, Canada, and Japan to obtain tourist visas in order to enter the country. In 2019, the previous president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, removed visa requirements for these countries to promote tourism. However, these four countries continued to demand visas from Brazilian tourists. The decision to reintroduce visa requirements is part of the new President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's ambition to have a stronger foreign policy than Bolsonaro.

According to a statement from Brazil's foreign ministry, the country's migration policy has always been based on "equal treatment," and the government is ready to negotiate new visa agreements on a reciprocal basis. Bolsonaro criticized the decision, claiming that it would lead to less job opportunities and less stimulus for the hotel sector.

Reintroducing visa requirements without a reciprocal agreement is rare in diplomacy, according to Brazilian political scientist Leonardo Paz. Despite this, many people in Brazil's tourism industry have criticized the decision, including the CEO of the cable cars on Sugar Loaf Mountain, which is one of Rio de Janeiro's top tourist attractions. He argued that Brazil should be removing, not adding, visa requirements for foreign visitors.

Before the pandemic, Brazil received 6.4 million tourists in 2019, which is significantly less than Mexico's 45 million and Argentina's 7.4 million. Data from Brazil's tourism ministry indicates that visits from Americans, Australians, Canadians, and Japanese people decreased between 2019 and 2021, mainly due to the pandemic causing the global tourism industry to come almost to a stop.

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