Honesty doesn't pay?
(Reprinted from my Facebook page) Japan's inbound tourism market is confusing now. There is a lot of wrongs and misleading information widespread in the market. In fact, due to government regulations, all visitors to Japan must obtain an entry visa in advance yet. To apply for an entry visa, they need to get a kind of certificate (the ERFS registration) from a Japanese receiving party. Therefore, this company should take all responsibility for the visitors' schedules and actions in Japan.
Besides, according to the government's new guidelines last week, tourists must purchase a package tour (including round air tickets, accommodations, and itineraries fixed and managed by a Japanese travel agency) if they want to act freely in Japan. Furthermore, if they purchase flight tickets and book hotels by themselves, an attendant from a receiving party must accompany them throughout the tour. I agree that the guidelines are impractical and weird, but these are the current rules.
But I found some Japanese companies, seemingly with a low lawful consciousness, are offering the ERFS certificate arrangement at the cost of Yen30,000-40,000/person, saying that now travelers can act freely in Japan without any guide or attendant. But it is untrue or illegitimate unless a Japanese travel agency arranges all tickets and bookings. They are just making easy money. I know the superficial prices attract some people, and I do not blame them. However, I want to prioritize shared social values, i.e., fairness, compliance, and honesty.