China and South Korea have asked Japan to join them in relaxing controls on business travel as virus cases tail off, the Yomiuri newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.
Japan remains reluctant to loosen what are currently some of the tightest border controls in the developed world, which were introduced over the past few weeks in a bid to help contain the coronavirus. The country has seen far fewer infections than in the U.S. or parts of Europe.
China and South Korea have allowed some business travel to resume with virus testing from this month, seeking to revive their ailing economies.
Health ministers from the three countries met by video conference on Friday and agreed to share information, data and expertise on the infection in a transparent fashion, according to Japan’s health ministry.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters Friday that Japan needs to bring the outbreak under control domestically and examine the situation in other countries before considering relaxing border restrictions.
“Some countries are seeing a second wave,” Motegi told reporters, according to the ministry website. “We want to take into account the infection situation in the other country, as well as various other information, in considering what approach we can take to movement.”
When Japan does begin to open its borders, business people and experts will be prioritized, while tourism and other ordinary travel will come much later, Motegi said. Japan is also thinking of dividing countries into groups of 10 for travel approval, and hopes to coordinate mutual access at the same time, he said.
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