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Japan’s domestic tourism campaign faces scrutiny as coronavirus spikes in Tokyo

The concerns in Japan highlight a conundrum facing countries around the world over how to balance reviving economies battered by the coronavirus while safeguarding public health.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura is due to meet experts to discuss the government’s “Go To” campaign to promote domestic tourism, a day after Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike questioned its timing and methods.

Japan has not seen the kind of explosive spread of the coronavirus that has killed tens of thousands in other countries. But new cases, in Tokyo in particular, have stoked alarm, with the city raising its coronavirus alert to the highest level.

The government is keen to avoid a return to the stay-at-home restrictions that helped contain the virus but hurt the economy, putting it on course to shrink at its fastest pace in decades this fiscal year.

Underscoring the plight of the travel industry, overseas visitors to Japan totalled just under 4 million in the first half of the year, data showed on Wednesday, just a tenth of the government’s full-year target of 40 million.

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