Travel from Japan to Vietnam will partially resume this week, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Tuesday, marking the first step in easing travel restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Three chartered flights carrying about 440 businesspeople are scheduled from Thursday through Saturday, with Vietnam agreeing to accept travelers on condition they agree to enhanced preventive measures, Motegi said at a press conference.
The Vietnam Airlines flights were arranged by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam. They will fly from Narita airport east of Tokyo to Van Don International Airport near Ha Long, northern Vietnam.
Motegi said last Friday that Japan and Vietnam had agreed to ease travel restrictions "partially and gradually" and that it "won't take long" before travel between the two countries resumes.
It was not immediately clear when the first flight from Vietnam to Japan will take place.
Japan currently has an entry ban in place for 111 countries and regions, with foreign travelers that have been to any of the areas within 14 days of their arrival being turned away. Conversely, 177 countries and regions have imposed restrictions of some kind on entry from Japan, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Along with Vietnam, Japan is in talks with Australia, New Zealand and Thailand to mutually ease travel restrictions on the condition that travelers test negative for COVID-19 before departure and upon arrival as well as submit an itinerary detailing where they will visit during their stay.
It will enable businesspeople to avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine period, allowing them to go to work although with some restrictions on movement.