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Japan mulls easing entry ban on Vietnamese; S.Korean, Filipino airlines eye reopening Vietnam services

Monday, June 01, 2020, 13:06 GMT+7
Japan mulls easing entry ban on Vietnamese; S.Korean, Filipino airlines eye reopening Vietnam services
Vietnamese who live in Japan celebrate Vietnamese Lunar New Year at a Catholic Church in Kawaguchi, near Tokyo, Japan February 10, 2019. Photo: Reuters

Japan is considering removing its entry ban on four countries, including Vietnam, while two airlines in South Korea and the Philippines have announced plans to resume their international routes to Vietnam after long travel restrictions caused by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Japanese national newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday afternoon quoted government sources as revealing that Japan is weighing up the easing of the ban on Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand.

The four countries appear to be keeping their infections in check, and business people are calling for the resumption of travel between Japan and the nations, the newspaper reported.

Japan, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand are party to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP or TPP-11), while many Japanese businesses have operations in Thailand.

Japan’s Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura had previously said he was planning to talk the lifting of travel restrictions with the four countries.

The Japanese government is planning an approach under which business people and others will be allowed to enter Japan if they obtain documents proving that they are negative for the novel coronavirus in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before leaving their countries, and also test negative after arriving in the East Asian country.

The first round of easing is expected to take place in summer 2020 or later as the current entry restrictions on people from 73 other countries, including the four aforementioned nations, which were first imposed in March, are scheduled to run through June.

On Sunday, Philippine Airlines announced on its website it would resume operating scheduled flights in June on selected international routes to 18 countries and territories, including Vietnam.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s full-service carrier Asiana Airlines said in a statement on May 14 it planned to restart flight services on 13 international routes while increasing the number of flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to three and seven a week, respectively, from June 1, according to Yonhap News Agency.

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