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Japan Might Reopen for Vietnamese Visitors With Negative Covid-19 Tests

Vietnam's successful containment of the coronavirus outbreak may mean its people will be able to travel abroad sooner, rather than later.

The Yomiuri Shumbun reported over the weekend that Japan is considering easing travel restrictions on visitors from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand.

The country's current across-the-board travel ban runs through the end of this month, so any loosening of regulations would occur after June. According to the news source, these four nations are being considered because they have handled their outbreaks well, and businesses are calling for travel to resume.

Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand are also part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Japan, while the Northeast Asian country has major business ties with Thailand.

Current discussions are focusing on businesspeople, who would need to provide evidence of a negative PCR test for the coronavirus before departing for Japan, and also test negative upon arrival, the news source adds. 

Meanwhile, the Japanese government is being more cautious about reopening to visitors from China and South Korea, which also have major economic ties with Japan. These countries would likely be included in a second round of relaxed restrictions.

Additionally, VnExpress reports that several South Korean airlines have stated their desire to resume flights to Vietnam. Asiana Airlines, for example, has suggested reopening three weekly flights to Hanoi and seven weekly flights to Saigon.

However, officials in Seoul are currently dealing with a new cluster of coronavirus infections, and it is unclear when the South Korea government will allow international travel again.

In any case, Vietnam's borders remain closed, with officials discussing the possibility of opening islands like Phu Quoc up to visitors from countries which haven't detected any new infections in 30 days. There is no timeline for when such plans would become reality.