TOKYO – Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi denied on Friday that the government had decided to allow resumption of travel with certain countries following media reports that Japan may soon resume business trips to and from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“As I have stated many times, priority is given to the winding down of the novel coronavirus in Japan. Although I believe that the situation in Japan has settled down considerably due to the dedicated efforts of our citizens and medical personnel, at the same time, we will monitor matters such as the situation of infections overseas as well as the responses by major countries,” Motegi told a press conference.
He said, “resumption of travel will not be allowed all at once, but will happen in stages.”
“Firstly, in terms of the type of people, the first people allowed to travel to Japan will probably be business managers, experts, technical interns who are needed in Japan, and other such people. Next will be people such as overseas exchange students. Lastly, it will be expanded to general people such as tourists,” he explained.
Motegi added that it will begin from countries where the COVID-19 situation has slowed down, and will be sequentially expanded to more countries where the infection has declined.
The Japanese foreign minister also announced that he has agreed with his counterparts from Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand to discuss the possibility of allowing resumption of mutual travel between Japan and the other respective countries.
“However, at the present point, there have not been any decisions made about aspects of this,” Motegi said. - Words by Florenda Corpuz, Photograph by Din Eugenio
(File photo: A commercial plane takes off from Narita Airport in Japan on Dec. 6, 2010)