The raging Coronavirus pandemic which has been wreaking havoc since late has adversely affected the
economy of almost the entire world. Strict measures were taken by multiple countries to curb the
transmission of the virus. Japan was one among many countries to seal its borders to international
travellers to check the spread of the pandemic.
Japan has had 86,027 total cases with 1,602 deaths while South Korea has had 24,239 cases and 422 casualties. With the rates of infection relatively low when compared to some other countries, both Japan and South Korea have decided to focus on one of the most important aspects of the well being of a country- the economy. Business relations between the two countries are soon to be revived.
A Japanese daily reported, citing the ministries of both countries that Japan is soon to resume business travels with South Korea, reportedly this very week. South Korea would then become the second
country to establish this relationship with Japan after Singapore.
In 2019, South Korea was the second largest source of international travellers for Japan, just after China,
with 5.58 million travellers, out of which 310000 came for business purposes. Though traffic on that
scale might now be allowed right now, efforts are being made to push up the economy as much as
Japan has recently started concentrating on rebuilding and rejuvenating its economy. Japan has been
holding talks with sixteen countries to resume business travel. As of now, Japan has formed mutual
travel agreements with nine Asian countries and regions: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos,
Myanmar, Taiwan, Singapore, and Brunei. Reportedly, talks are underway with China, though no
agreement has been reached.
This agreement of Japan with South Korea has dual objectives: it is aimed at improving and empowering
the economies of both the countries. At the same time, it is also an effort to reinstate diplomatic
relations between the two countries, which has been at an all time low after a South Korean court asked
Japanese firms to pay compensation to the victims of forced labor during Japan’s colonial rule over the
Through this agreement, both countries will allow entry of expatriates and other long-term residents as
well as travellers on short-term business trips, provided they have tested negative for the Coronavirus.
Short term travellers will not have to go through the 2 week isolation, provided they can produce the
COVID – negative report and a trip itinerary. However, the isolation and Covid test will be compulsory for
long term travellers, like resident workers.
With Japan all set to allow international travel, the testing capacity of the airports has to be upgraded.
Narita, Haneda and Kansai airports each can handle a total of about 10,000 polymerase chain reaction,
or PCR, tests per day. The government looks to double this to 20,000, so as to concentrate on both
safety and profit of the travellers as well as the country.
With Japan and South Korea about to embark on normalising international relations, it is expected that
many other countries might do the same.