Back in mid-June, the Japanese government had a plan to allow citizens from 4 countries into Japan, as its first move in reopening. That never happened with 2 of the countries, but Japan has now decided to introduce what they’re calling a “Residence Track.” That will focus on travelers, at first only from Thailand and Vietnam, who need to have long-term stays, such as when dispatching and replacing employees stationed abroad. They’re also starting a “Business Track” for those 2 countries, which will allow business travelers to conduct business activities in limited areas, such as their residence or workplace. Both “tracks” would enable people to move in their respective limited zones they’d need to stay in during a mandated 14-day quarantine.
At a recent press conference, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi announced they were considering the resumption of international travel between them and Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Republic of Korea (ROK/South Korea), Singapore and Taiwan. They would use the “Residence Track” and “Business Track” models for all.
If all goes well with those 12 countries, their next step for the 2 “Track” models would be the consideration of the main countries in Europe, as well as Hawaii.
“Japan and Hawaii enjoy longstanding cultural ties and a deep-rooted friendship that has enriched the lives of many generations,” Hawaii Governor David Ige said in a statement on Wednesday. “It’s important that we restore travel between Japan and Hawaii and we see this program as a way to make this possible, while also preventing the further spread of infections from COVID-19.”
“Providing safe travel for both residents and visitors is vital to strengthening our state’s economic health and long-term recovery. Protecting the public’s health will always be our first priority and the foundation for which any economic recovery program is built upon, including trans-Pacific travel,” Ige continued.
Japan is also considering a “Minimum Business Track,” which would allow, “travel limited to short periods of time by small numbers of people under further requirements to prevent the spread of infections.” That would be considered for European countries, as well as the U.S.
There’s no timetable of when these plans could begin.
Feature Photo: Obama White House Archives
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary