Australia-Japan business travel could restart this year

Japan joins Singapore and Greece with plans to open a Covid-safe air corridor to Australia and selected other countries.

By David Flynn, June 1 2020
Australia-Japan business travel could restart this year

Travel between Australia and Japan could resume before the year is out, although the proposed restrictions will make those trips better suited to business travellers than holiday-makers.

Japan has closed its borders to all foreign visitors to help limit the spread of the coronavirus, and only last week lifted a nationwide 'state of emergency' as it prepared to reopen the economy.

Now a reopening of borders could follow, with Japanese media reporting that travel would be encouraged from selected countries – including Australia and New Zealand – with low levels of coronavirus infections.

However, visitors would need to show a negative test result for Covid-19 before boarding their flight to Japan and undergo a second test on arrival, according to the Asahi Shimbun.

Once in Japan, visitors’ movements "would be restricted to areas including place of stay, company offices and factories", with the use of public transport banned.

This pretty much rules out a holiday in Japan, with those conditions geared more to business travellers, acknowledges Kyodo News. Vietnam and Thailand are also being considered for the Japanese travel bubble.

As previously reported, Singapore has also made overtures to Australia – along with New Zealand, Malaysia and South Korea – to establish a Covid-safe 'green lane' for air travel, while Greece has also invited Australia to join a global travel bubble of trusted countries from which it will accept visitors as of June 15 as part of the country's 'Restart Tourism' plan.

Participation in the Singapore and Greek proposals would require approval by the Australian government, as well as state governments with border restrictions, and the lifting of the current mandatory 14-day quarantine imposed on all inbound travellers.

International travel is expected to reopen for Australians to New Zealand in the third quarter of this year under a joint trans-Tasman bubble which may include other Pacific Island nations such as Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

"We are both very keen on it ... across both sides of the ditch,” says NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. "It won’t be too long before we are ready."

Government and airport officials, airlines and health specialists have been shaping the joint plan, which is expected to be tabled by the end of June, although it's yet to be determined if travellers would require some form of 'immunity passport' such as a negative test for COVID-19.

Also read: Post-coronavirus, airline routes to be based on bubbles and corridors


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


28 May 2020

Total posts 28

A quick 20-minute test instead of a 14-day quarantine is being considered by some countries, so could it be coming to Australia?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 32

Bring on the business travel exemption as quickly as possible. We already have fast tests and I would be happy to stay at BOTH airports for a short while until given the all clear. (Screw two weeks obviously.) No public transport seems a little strict but I could live with that for a while. I do not understand why the Australian government is being so quiet about the possible protocols they will implement for business travel when it surely must be under consideration. My guess is that they are terrified of the rush they will see for business travel applications?

04 Jun 2020

Total posts 1

Great news re opening up to Australians. I have just left after 5 years living in Japan. If we have to isolate, can we home isolate? I own a house in Shiga.

05 Jun 2020

Total posts 32

Australian government is very frustrating. I need to leave Oz and I feel like a grounded teenager being told if I'm a good boy they'll think about it.

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