U.S. excludes Japanese and South Korean nationals who have visited North Korea from visa waiver program

SEOUL – The U.S. government has excluded foreign nationals from 37 countries, including Japan and South Korea, with records of a visit or stay in North Korea from its visa waiver program as of Monday, according to news agency reports.

The U.S. government now requires such people to obtain visas to enter the United States, the reports said.

Under its visa waiver program, the U.S. government allows most people from 37 countries and one region to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of up to 90 days without visas.

But those who have visited Iraq, Iran, Syria and four other countries designated by the U.S. government since March 2011 are not eligible for the program.

According to the reports, the U.S. government added North Korea to the designation after it put Pyongyang back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism in November 2017.

Since March 2011, some 37,000 South Koreans have visited North Korea, the reports said.

A South Korean Foreign Ministry official told the news agency that the new measure does not necessarily ban those who have traveled to North Korea from visiting the United States.

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