Japan's new tourism minister said Tuesday he will consider when to resume the government's "Go To Travel" subsidy program for the promotion of domestic tourism that has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, following the full lifting of the COVID-19 state of emergency last week.

A street in Kyoto, western Japan, is virtually empty on Dec. 28, 2020. The Japanese government expanded the suspension the same day of the travel promotion program for the coronavirus-hit domestic tourism industry across the country through Jan. 11 in response to the recent notable increase in infections. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

"We will consider the situation regarding novel coronavirus infections and consider when to resume the program," said Tetsuo Saito. "It is a program crucial for the recovery of tourist sites and local economies."

Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Tetsuo Saito holds a press conference in Tokyo on Oct. 5, 2021. (Kyodo)

A day after assuming his ministerial post, Saito said he has been instructed by new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to help the battered tourism sector while maintaining anti-virus measures.

While international travel is still largely limited due to the pandemic, Saito said the government will uphold its goal of attracting 60 million foreign visitors to Japan by 2030.

In July last year, the government launched the Go To Travel campaign to subsidize up to half of travelers' expenses, but the program was suspended nationwide in December due to a resurgence of coronavirus infections. The overall discount was capped at 20,000 yen ($180) per person per night and 10,000 yen for a day trip.