In addition, the Japanese MOFA has adopted specific visa guidelines for nationals of China and the Philippines. Nationals of these countries must also apply through an accredited travel agency or be invited by a Japanese national or resident company.   The Commission welcomes the decision of the Japanese authorities to extend the temporary visa exemption for Romanian nationals until 31 December 2012. The Commission is determined, in close cooperation with the Romanian authorities, to find appropriate solutions to the concerns expressed by the Japanese authorities. The Commission hopes that Romania`s implementation of appropriate measures will prompt Japan to transform the temporary visa exemption into a permanent access period. The governments of the following 55 countries have bilateral visa-free agreements with Japan. Holders of diplomatic passports and/or service passports do not need a visa to travel to Japan: Japan has taken steps regarding visa waiver agreements with 68 countries and regions, as shown in the table below. However, visa waivers have currently been suspended in the following countries/regions, with the exception of shady countries or regions (note 9), as measures to control the new coronavirus (COVID-19). While visa-free regimes come into effect, nationals and citizens of these countries and regions listed below are not required to obtain entry visas to Japan if their visits are tourism, trade, conferences, visits by relatives/knowledge, etc. However, if foreign nationals engage in paid activities in Japan or if their length of stay exceeds the length of stay set by each country`s short-stay regime, a visa is required to enter Japan. Currently, the cap on the VWP visa refusal rate for applicant countries is 3%. Based on 2011 figures from the four Member States that are not yet participating in the state aid programme, Cyprus is the only one to meet this threshold; In 2011, visa refusal rates were 15.7% for Bulgaria, 10.2% for Poland and 22.4% for Romania.
The introduction by the US authorities of a biometric airport exit system would allow them, in accordance with US law, to raise the visa refusal limit to 10%. The Commission was awaiting the publication by the US authorities of the ESTA final rule to complete its assessment of the ESTA in order to determine whether or not it is equivalent to the Schengen visa application procedure; there is no doubt that the collection of a levy would be an important part of that assessment.