• Kyodo


A chartered flight operated by Japan Airlines Co. mainly carrying Japanese businesspeople and their families who had evacuated from China following the novel coronavirus outbreak took off Friday for Guangzhou from Narita Airport.

The flight carrying 160 people was organized at the request of the local Japanese chamber of commerce. The return of the business community had been hampered by travel restrictions and fewer flights connecting Japan and China despite the world’s second-largest economy reopening production activities after the epidemic subsided.

The Japanese businesspeople had to apply for new visas as China in March introduced a temporary ban on foreign nationals entering the country, including those who held valid visas or residence permits.

“I had to communicate with local staff through teleworking and it was tiring. I’m glad to be able to return” to China, said Chutatsu Fukuo, 59, who works for a cosmetic manufacturing company.

“I’m happy to be able to work (in China) but worried about a resurgence of the virus that could prevent me from returning to Japan,” said Kyoichi Shibuya, 55, a car trading company employee who was originally scheduled to start working in China three months earlier.

Japan has enforced an entry ban on 129 countries and regions amid the coronairus pandemic, with foreign travelers that have been to any of the areas within 14 days of their arrival being turned away. Japanese nationals can return home, but are requested to undergo virus tests and self-quarantine for 14 days.

But Tokyo is in talks with Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand to mutually ease travel restrictions for businesspeople under certain conditions and is set to launch similar talks next week with about 10 other countries and regions including China, South Korea and Taiwan, several government sources said Friday.

Business travel from Japan to Vietnam partially resumed in late June.

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