Despite a recent spike in cases, Japan is looking ahead to potentially expanding travel with key international partners in due time. Though a precise timetable hasn’t been speculated by Japanese officials, the countries of interest have. Many on the list are predictable, but one is both amusing, and insightful.
The Lone United State
Not the Lone Star state, the lone United State. Hawaii is on track to become the lone US state included in early reopening plans for international travel with Japan.
Speaking to press, Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu introduced phased plans to reopen travel and its associated commerce, including business fast tracks, and tourism corridors with valued and trusted partners. Speaking on initial plans, Toshimitsu offered…
“Coordination will swiftly begin with 12 countries and regions: Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Singapore and Taiwan”.Motegi Toshimitsu, Japanese Foreign Minister
Travel corridors within Asia, particularly for approved business travellers aren’t new news. Australia and New Zealand, began discussions of air bridges months ago, and bilateral agreements in Asia between countries such as Korea and China, have been ongoing and rapidly expanding.
Effectively, regional travel will resume before broader international movements. Australia and New Zealand are included among primary first travel partners, but the Japanese Government noted a heightened focus from both countries on simply resuming travel between the two, before wider agreements would be made.
But Japanese plans did include one somewhat surprising inclusion for the second wave of agreements. Not the United States, but a United State, Hawaii. Japan anticipates the opening of safe corridors with not only key European capitals, but with Hawaii too.
Despite a reluctance to reopen travel without quarantine to the other 49 US states, Hawaiian Governor David Ige appears keen on the idea of resuming travel with Japan, offering..
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.”David Ige, Governor of Hawaii
Plans for Europe and Hawaii would be a part of a second phase of international reopening, after, and only after, a successful initial foray with regional partners. Assuming the first two phases go well, Japan noted clear plans to broaden travel to the United States, plural, and wider into Europe.
Initial opportunities would be afforded to business travellers, with additional restrictions and measures to reduce spread.
When? Government officials refuse to speculate on exact time tables, based on the individual sets of circumstances for negotiations between each country, and the unpredictable nature of covid-19 spread. If a vaccine were to be introduced in a timely fashion, it would certainly help.