Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Wednesday, July 22, 2020, 6:17 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I would like to make an announcement. In regard to phased measures toward allowing resumption of international travel, consultations have been conducted respectively with Thailand and Viet Nam based on a decision by the National Security Council (NSC) and the Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters on June 18. As a result, as early as within July, Japan will introduce the “Residence Track” which will allow the resumption of travel between Japan and the two countries while maintaining the requirement of 14 days quarantine at home or another designated area. This is mainly focused on people who will have long-term stays, such as dispatching and replacing employees stationed abroad. Information such as the specific procedures will be announced soon.
In addition, in regard to the “Business Track” which will allow business travelers to conduct business activities in limited areas including their residence or workplace, such as a factory, during the 14 days of quarantine, we will continue to coordinate with Thailand and Vietnam through diplomatic channels towards commencing this scheme as early as possible.
Furthermore, based on the decision today by the NSC and the Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters, 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. The “Residence Track” and “Business Track” will be introduced sequentially from countries and regions with which coordination is complete. We would like to consider going forward on whether to target the main countries of Europe, Hawaii, and other locations for this scheme as the next step.
Moreover, taking into consideration economic needs and other factors for countries and regions that are not targeted for coordination for the Business Track and Residence Track, the “Minimum Business Track” will be introduced, which is a scheme allowing travel limited to short periods of time by small numbers of people under further requirements to prevent the spread of infections. Coordination will commence with the United States and European countries in order to conduct consideration on the details going forward.
Additionally, people with status of residence in Japan and others will sequentially be permitted to enter or re-enter Japan. This will begin by allowing re-entry to Japan by people, including people whose lives are based in Japan, who are currently abroad and have permission to re-enter Japan.
This is the end of the announcement. Officials will explain the details. That is all from me.
Reporter: You mentioned negotiations with 12 countries and regions, including China. In terms of the stage of completing coordination, specifically which countries do you think will be soonest? Is there an expected timespan?
Minister MOTEGI: We will not know until we do it. The consultations will be conducted mutually in various forms and depend on the novel coronavirus situation winding down. This was just decided today, so at the current stage, I can only say that we will conduct consultations going forward and will start from countries and regions that have completed coordination.
Reporter: I believe that negotiations are being conducted with Australia and New Zealand during the first stage. Is it possible that coordination will be completed with any of these other countries sooner than Australia and New Zealand?
Minister MOTEGI: It is possible that it will be sooner. Australia and New Zealand are currently prioritizing coordination amongst themselves. We will continue to conduct coordination with them on the timing. However, I believe it is possible that coordination with the 12 countries and regions being targeted now could be completed sooner.