Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has said the government is planning to extend its Go To Travel discount campaign beyond the original expiry date of January 30 next year.
Suga discussed the subsidy program during a meeting of the government's tourism promotion taskforce.
Suga acknowledged that Japan has seen a continued rise in new coronavirus cases recently, but he said that his government intends to continue with the Go To Travel campaign in an effort to keep jobs, under its policy of protecting both people's lives and their livelihoods.
He stressed that the program will be extended on the understanding that strict public health measures are taken to prevent the spread of the virus.
In a related move, Tourism Minister Akaba Kazuyoshi said on Thursday that the government is asking people aged 65 or older, or anyone with underlying health conditions, to refrain from travel to and from the capital Tokyo, a hotspot for the virus, through December 17.
Akaba said that people who fall under those categories and have already made reservations under the Go To Travel campaign can cancel with no risk of cancellation fees, if they apply anytime from 6 p.m. on December 1 through 13.
Akaba also said the government will compensate hotels and other businesses to be affected by the cancellations by paying them 35 percent of the travel package price.
Regarding the question of how to verify the age or health condition of people applying for no-fee cancellations, Akaba said reporting in person by phone or e-mail would be acceptable, provided they are done in good faith.