Japan suspends business visit program for Vietnam, 10 other economies

By Phan Anh   January 13, 2021 | 07:41 pm PT
Japan suspends business visit program for Vietnam, 10 other economies
A man wearing a mask walks a street of Tokyo, Japan, December 2020. Photo by Reuters.
Japan has suspended a program that allowed business visits by people from certain economies, including Vietnam, as it tightened border restrictions over renewed coronavirus fears.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday announced the clampdown on entry by businesspeople from Vietnam, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia.

It means no foreigner would be allowed to enter except for special reasons like attending a relative’s funeral or childbirth, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

The program consisted of two components, ‘Business Track’ and ‘Residence Track.’

The former, meant for short-term business travelers, allowed foreigners to enter for undertaking limited activities for 14 days while self-quarantining and accepting additional measures like submission of their schedule in Japan.

‘Residence Track’ was for long-term visits but required visitors to stay at home or other designated locations for 14 days.

On December 28, Japan had stopped new entries into the country to halt the spread of new coronavirus variants that were spreading in the U.K., South Africa and other regions. But those entering Japan through the business visit program was still allowed.

Last year Japan had eased travel restrictions on Vietnamese and some other nationals in a bid to revive its battered economy, allowing non-tourist arrivals.

Its embassy in Vietnam started to issue visas in late November for short-term commercial purposes such as market research, negotiations and signing contracts, cultural exchanges, training programs, and long-term stay.

Japan has had over 297,000 Covid-19 cases so far and 4,100 deaths.

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